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Amazon to acquire game streaming service Twitch

Warwick Ashford

Amazon has announced it has reached an agreement to acquire live video platform for gamers Twitch for $970m. The deal is expected to close in the second half of 2014.

Twitch enables gamers to stream and watch live or recorded game play and claims to have attracted 55 million visitors in July to access more than 15 billion minutes of content created by more than a million broadcasters.

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Analysts say the acquisition is aimed at helping Amazon beat video streaming competitors such as Netflix and Google’s YouTube, which was reported to be in talks to acquire Twitch earlier this year, according to the BBC.

“Broadcasting and watching game play is a global phenomenon and Twitch has built a platform that brings together tens of millions of people who watch billions of minutes of games each month,” said Jeff Bezos, founder and CEO of Amazon.com.

“Like Twitch, we obsess over customers and like to think differently, and we look forward to learning from them and helping them move even faster to build new services for the gaming community.”  

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Twitch CEO Emmett Shear said being part of Amazon would enable tools and services to be developed more quickly.

“This change will mean great things for our community, and will let us bring Twitch to even more people around the world,” he said.

In an attempt to quell concerns about the acquisition, Shear said in a letter to users that Twitch chose Amazon because of shared values and a common long-term vision.

“We are keeping most everything the same: our office, our employees, our brand and, most importantly, our independence,” he wrote.

“But with Amazon’s support, we will have the resources to bring you an even better Twitch.”

Industry pundits expect Amazon to help improve the streaming quality of Twitch as well as the quality of its mobile app.

While the acquisition will potentially boost Amazon’s audience for its video streaming business, Twitch also represents an expansion into new areas.

The acquisition follows Amazon’s recent release of its own smartphone, the introduction of same-day delivery services and the launch of the Fire TV set-top box.


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