Twitch Acquired By Google for $1 Billion
The Google Empire just got a whole lot more sinister. Back in May there were rumours that online streaming service provider Twitch was in the acquisition crosshairs of Google. According to anonymous sources at Venturebeat, it seems that Google–and by extension YouTube–have pulled the trigger on a $1 Billion (R10 Million) deal to effectively monopolise the Internet game streaming service. Suffice it to say the Twitter investors must be lining up the Serbian Caviar and white powder to celebrate as they have made significant returns on their original investment.
This is important for those who use Twitch Streaming because YouTube, the biggest online platform for internet video, now owns their only competitor. YouTube, which late last year took much flak for “Copyrightalypse“, has not been very hospitable to the average person or website who want to do Let’s Plays or any video content for that matter. As the only alternative Twitch was seen as a suitable outlet as they didn’t cave to publisher or developer pressure and allowed live internet game streaming of the “average joe” Let’s Plays and reviews. Not only this, Twitch also provided free streaming for multimillion dollar competitions, like Dota 2′ s The International.
Since online video is something that Google invested $1.65 Billion back in 2006 with their acquisition of YouTube, it seems fitting that the acquired will now become the “acquiree” and YouTube will be in charge of the Twitch deal. In business terms the acquisition makes sense since as of March 2014 Twitch accounted for 1.35 percent of all Internet traffic and 13 billion minutes of video watched a month, which is gargantuan in growth terms since it was only started in June 2011 by Justin Kan and Emmett Shear and had 3.2 million monthly active users. It is still small compared to the 360 billion minutes YouTube does per month, but with YouTube the content is mostly uploaded. This acquisition also effectively captures the console streaming market as well since Xbox One and PlayStation 4 also make use of the service.
I for one have made use of Twitch streaming to watch local competitive Battlefield 3/4 teams battle it out on the Do Gaming League as well as watch the International stream. The one thing these streams had, especially the Battlefield games, was a grassroots feel to them; essentially people playing games and others watching them. No matter how “stalkerish” that sounds, if YouTube change Twitch terms of service to fit in with their business model, nothing will rip the soul or the immersion out of live streaming than a “message from our sponsors” during the stream.