When did Amazon buy Twitch? What is Twitch? From Call of Duty to Minecraft, virtual spaces are where more and more people are spending a good amount of their lives. Facebook’s plan to create a metaverse—a sort of next-generation internet that promises to blur the line between the actual and virtual worlds even further—raises valid concerns. And yet, the demand for virtual environment is only growing.
In fact, Investopedia reports that the video game industry is larger than both the movie and music industries combined. It has become an incubator for technology that is changing how people socialize, communicate, and even wage war.
To understand how the video game industry is changing society and is even driving innovations in warfare, The Daily Signal spoke with defense experts at The Heritage Foundation—James Carafano, Dakota Wood, Dean Cheng, and John Venable—to hear what they have to say about the video game industry. Here are their thoughts.
When did Amazon buy Twitch?
Twitch is getting bought, but it’s not YouTube and Google that are doing the buying. Amazon has agreed to buy the massively popular video game streaming website in an all-cash deal totaling approximately $970 million. The announcement is surprising in light of recent reports that suggested YouTube and Twitch had already reached a $1 billion buyout agreement to bring Twitch’s platform and massive community under the Google umbrella.
But ultimately it was Amazon that Twitch bet its future on. “We chose Amazon because they believe in our community, they share our values and long-term vision, and they want to help us get there faster,” Twitch CEO Emmett Shear said in a statement. “We’re keeping most everything the same: our office, our employees, our brand, and most importantly our independence. But with Amazon’s support we’ll have the resources to bring you an even better Twitch.”
What is Twitch?
Twitch is a startup best known for Twitch.tv, a live streaming platform that lets people stream their favorite video games. So it is, in essence, a service that allows people to watch other people play video games.
Does that sound odd to you? Well, consider that much of television is a service that allows people to watch other people play sports.
Although Twitch isn’t very well known outside of gaming communities, it is absolutely enormous among gamers. As Amazon described in its press release, Twitch in July had more than 55 million unique visitors and over 15 billion minutes of content produced by more than 1 million broadcasters. Twitch gets more peak broadband traffic than giants like Facebook and Hulu.
The service gets its name from twitch gameplay, or game scenarios that require quick reaction time.
Why is Amazon buying Twitch?
A press release from Amazon characterized the acquisition as an opportunity for the company to show its belief in the future of gaming.
Indeed, Amazon has increased its commitment to gaming in recent years. As the Verge reported, the company created an in-house gaming studio in 2012 and created a few Facebook and mobile games since then. It also acquired Killer Instinct developer Double Helix Games, and hired the designer behind the popular Portal.
On top of its extensive library of movies, books, and TV shows, Amazon is also one of the top video game vendors in the world. It is second only to Steam, a popular PC gaming platform, when it comes to the digital distribution of games.
Amazon’s rising prominence as a video game vendor provides a powerful incentive for the company to better integrate itself into gaming culture and promote itself in services commonly used by gamers. Twitch helps accomplish both those goals.
“Broadcasting and watching gameplay 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 — from The International, to breaking the world record for Mario, to gaming conferences like E3. And, amazingly, Twitch is only three years old,” Jeff Bezos, founder and CEO of Amazon, said in a statement. “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.”
Why do people stream on Twitch?
There are a variety of reasons gamers stream on Twitch, ranging from personal profit to pure entertainment.
Many of Twitch’s top broadcasters stream for money. Viewers can either subscribe to individual channels for varying amounts, or they can make direct donations. (One viewer reportedly gave a popular World of Warcraft streamer a $10,000 contribution.)
These donations aren’t always for personal profit. Some charities, such as Extra Life, run events with the help of Twitch. These charities typically challenge people to solicit donations through video game marathons that can last 24 hours or more, and it’s fairly common for participants to stream the event to raise more money for their cause.
Game developers have also used Twitch to promote their games and announce major changes or new releases. Some companies, such as ArenaNet, even use the service to address their communities on a weekly or biweekly basis.
Beyond the money, Twitch offers a chance for competitive gamers to establish a reputation. As gaming tournaments grow into $10 million affairs, more and more people are trying to get into the competitions. Through Twitch, gamers can show off their skills, network with other gamers, and advertise themselves to team recruiters.
Of course, a lot of people stream on Twitch just for fun. Many gamers like to stream whatever they’re playing at the moment while they interact with a live chatroom.
What kinds of games do people stream on Twitch?
The most popular games on Twitch are competitive games like League of Legends, Dota 2, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, and Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft. The top two games in particular are enormous entities with tournament prize pools in the millions of dollars, so Twitch gives many professional gamers a natural place to show off their skills.
A smaller group of broadcasters on Twitch also participate in what’s called speed-running. These broadcasters try to clear classic titles, such as Super Mario 64 or The Legend of Zelda: The Ocarina of Time, as quickly as possible.
Besides the competitive, many people stream all sorts of games just for fun. Almost anything, from MMORPGs like World of Warcraft and Guild Wars 2 to sports games like FIFA 14 and Madden NFL 15, can be found on Twitch.
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