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Amazon To Buy Twitch For $970 Million 61

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the about-that-previous-speculation... dept.
Dave Knott (2917251) writes Amazon has agreed to acquire the live game-streaming service Twitch for approximately $970 million in cash, a move that could help Amazon bolster its position in the fast-growing business of online gaming and give it technology to compete with video-streaming rivals Netflix and YouTube. The acquisition, which has been approved by Twitch's shareholders, is expected to be completed by the end of the year. Google had for some time been reported to have interest in acquiring Twitch, but those talks cooled in recent weeks. Google was unable to close the deal, said sources familiar with the talks, because it was concerned about potential antitrust issues that could have come with the acquisition.
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Amazon To Buy Twitch For $970 Million

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  • They are really going to drive up to their house with a dump truck full of cash?
    • They should have asked for it in gold bullion ;-) I doubt COMEX could come up with the requisite 746,154 troy ounces and we'd see a gold boom like never before!

      Plus, who wouldn't want 51,165 pounds (23,208 kg) of gold?

      • by narcc (412956)

        who wouldn't want 51,165 pounds (23,208 kg) of gold?

        Me. What the hell would I do with it? Pave the driveway?

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Truck full of cash? Hell no. This is Amazon we're talking about. They'll send in a fleet of drones carrying bricks of hondos.

    • by NotDrWho (3543773)

      I'm sure something this big will be handled by a direct fund transfer through the banks, probably overseen by the bank presidents personally.

    • by rossdee (243626)

      I am sure they (Twitch) would rather have 9,700 hundred dollar bills than 100 billion Amazon "coins"

    • And if they did have a dump truck with $970 million, wouldn't that be enough to "give it technology to compete with video-streaming rivals Netflix and YouTube"?

      Some observations: 1) Does it really take $970million to write a bunch of web apps? 2) How come developers and engineers aren't getting it? 3) I thought tech companies could only spend their money in units of $Billions 4) Hopefully someone at Twitch got fired for losing out on that last $30million. Losers...
      • by BitZtream (692029)

        They don't buy the tech, they buy the user base and in some cases the contracts the company already has with others OR to prevent this service from being competition directly or in case another organization buys them. A lot of times its nothing more than stifling competition and innovation.

        Ridiculous amounts of money for companies that clearly are entirely not worth it aren't because they are buying the company, they are buying company related assets, usually the most important of which is the existing us

        • Well there's one plus to this though. It's Amazon buying it instead of Google. If Google had bought it, Twitch would've definitely died. They were buying to knock the competition out of the market, as Google has been trying to get gamers to stream or post on Youtube. If Amazon is buying it there's hope it'll stay more or less intact. They might be able to bring some licensing to bear for all those Twitch streams that have been DMCA'd and muted. Amazon Prime music streaming might be able to prevent it or som

  • Okay, so this made a lot more sense when it was Google/YouTube making the buy. But what is Amazon looking to get here? Better streaming tech for their streaming Prime service? More FireTV users (if they make Twitch a FireTV exclusive for example)? Not quite understanding their motivation here.

    • by MitchDev (2526834)

      Preventing Google from getting it....

      So sick of the same 3-4 companies owning/controlling EVERYTHING....

      • by NotDrWho (3543773)

        I'm sure that was part of it. I do worry though about the possibility of them deciding to exploit it as an ad platform and suddenly seeing every Twitch stream flooded with periodic Amazon ads and/or featuring an annoying scroll at the bottom of ever stream telling me about all the great deals available today at Amazon. I hope Bezos wouldn't be that stupid.

    • A baseball analogy: the Red Sox and Yankees have been doing it to each other for years.

      Sometimes all that is necessary for a victory in a war of acquisition is to feign interest in a commodity that your opponent then overpays for.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      When a business does really well and has no idea what to do with the money, they either start buying other businesses to "expand" or buy back their stock - to boost stock price to allow the CEO to make even ridiculous amount of money. Stock buybacks are NEVER done because management thinks their company is a good investment.

      So, what is going on with Amazon is that they need to keep "growing" and Bezos has no idea how to do it. A sure sign of that is this disparate purchases with no direction in sight. Ther

  • Sad (Score:2, Informative)

    by DogDude (805747)
    I didn't know what Twitch was. Luckily, the NY Times had an informative article about it:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2014/08... [nytimes.com]

    Jesus Christ. Humanity is doomed.
    • Re:Sad (Score:4, Funny)

      by Singularitarian2048 (1068276) on Tuesday August 26, 2014 @09:14AM (#47755851)
      You haven't even experienced Twitch chat yet.
      • by Anonymous Coward

        This!

        People who complain about Youtube comments or 4chan have not experienced twitch chat.

    • Re:Sad (Score:5, Insightful)

      by NotDrWho (3543773) on Tuesday August 26, 2014 @09:15AM (#47755853)

      Why should it surprise you that people enjoy watching good videogame players? They're been watching good sports players for centuries. Shit, people will pay thousands of dollars for a Superbowl ticket these days in the nosebleed section.

      • by tepples (727027)
        The difference is that viewers know that football will be around for the foreseeable future, while a video game will be around only as long as 1. the game's multiplayer matchmaking servers remain available, and 2. the game's publisher continues to tolerate fan streams of its copyrighted audiovisual work.
    • Re:Sad (Score:5, Insightful)

      by hendrips (2722525) on Tuesday August 26, 2014 @09:42AM (#47756073)

      2500 years ago, the Ancient Greeks gathered by the thousands to watch naked men grapple each other and throw sticks in the air.
      1500 years ago, the Byzantines gathered by the hundred thousands to watch men ride in circles in carts.
      500 years ago, Europeans all over the continent dressed up in hundreds of pounds of metal and ran into each other waving sticks.
      50 years ago, Americans began watching young men throw pieces of pig hide at each other by the millions.

      Curiously, the Apocalypse has failed to manifest itself for any of these events. Rather, Classical Athens, Justinian's Constantinople, Renaissance Europe, and Cold War America all tend to be considered civilizations at the height of their political and/or cultural dominance.

      Somehow, I suspect that I'm not going to be meeting the Four Horsemen anytime soon because of Twitch (unless I'm watching someone play Diablo, maybe).

      • To my knowledge, the law doesn't recognize an owner of exclusive rights in wrestling, javelin throw, chariot racing, jousting, or gridiron football. The law does, however, recognize an owner of copyright in a video game who has the legal right to pull streams off Twitch. For example, you can broadcast a joust, but Warner Bros. has the right to keep you from broadcasting Joust.
        • by mha (1305)

          At least in soccer - and I don't watch any sports or read any sports news so there may very well be others - there ARE such notices. I heard of at least the Englisch Premier League as well as the German Bundesliga trying to enforce "copyright" against Youtube.

          http://winfuture.de/news,28312... [winfuture.de] (German)

          • Here's an August 2014 link - I didn't notice that my first link was from 2006.

            http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/premi... [ibtimes.co.uk]

          • by tepples (727027)
            A league likely has copyright over recordings of its own matches. But that doesn't mean the league has the legal right to prevent other leagues from playing the same sport. The NFL, for instance, has no legal right to shut down the AFL, USFL, XFL, Arena Football, our the new USFL expected to kick off next year. A video game publisher, on the other hand, can use copyright to keep an online league from broadcasting the league's own matches.
            • by mha (1305)

              I don't understand what you mean. I'm not talking about sharing of videos recorded by the league - I'm talking about privately recorded videos of the games. Here in Germany we had the case of people recording local games (insignificant, lowest level) and those videos where attempted to be taken down.

              I obviously understand (somewhat) if they don't want you to share THEIR videos, but they don't want you to share ANY videos of the event, even if YOU recorded it.

              I don't have a link for the event I describe abov

              • Privately recorded videos fall under the conditions of the ticket granting admission to said insignificant local games. If said conditions include an assignment of copyright in any privately recorded video to the league, it could produce the situation you describe. But such conditions would not apply to, say, recording your kids playing soccer at a public park because nobody owns the exclusive rights to the sport of soccer itself. A video game publisher's copyright is different because it affects your abili
    • by Skarjak (3492305)
      Before anyone else gets the wrong idea, you should really watch this video, which explains why Twitch has become so big: Why we watch [youtube.com] It was a response to a really biased report on this by the BBC. This is more than just "a bunch of nerds watching people play games".
    • made more sense for google to own. Watching twitch I've run into issues with the comcast bandwidth cap. We're in one of the trial markets 300GB/month and $10/50GB after that, 3 overages allowed/12 month period no charges.

      I presume they took a look at the legal side of it and realized they're just one step away from the Fair Use at "play" here being a little too fair for the game producers...

  • by _xeno_ (155264) on Tuesday August 26, 2014 @09:23AM (#47755915) Homepage Journal

    For those not familiar with Twitch, every stream contains a "Now Playing: (Game)" thing with it, and you can select which game you're playing from a pre-defined list of games.

    Bets on how long until that become a link straight to Amazon to buy said game, and how long until streamers become Amazon affiliates and start getting money for driving people to buy their games off Amazon?

    Because that's the only angle I can see Amazon having here: trying to get gamers to grab games off Amazon. (And they do sell digital game downloads, so they do compete with things like Steam.)

    Maybe Amazon can fix some of Twitch's more recent problems like the horrendous stream lag that makes it impossible for streamers to communicate with the stream chat since the stream now has something like 30 seconds of latency between streamer and audience. Then there's Twitch's new weird anti-piracy thing where they mute audio if they detect that the audio contains a copyrighted song (hint: for video games, that's always) and whatever other issues people are complaining about Twitch these days since I never bother to use it.

    • by subanark (937286)

      >Bets on how long until that become a link straight to Amazon to buy said game, and how long until streamers become Amazon affiliates and start getting money for driving people to buy their games off Amazon?
      For 1, it could easily happen. For 2, already happening. I see lots of streams put buy links to Amazon in their channel description.
      IMDB (owned by Amazon) doesn't have buy links on their site from movies (at least none I could see), but it does have a stream on Amazon Prime.

      >Because that's the only

    • by Anonymous Coward

      The 'horrendous stream lag' you talk about is a feature, not a bug. It's to keep opponents from 'ghosting'- watching their stream while playing against them (cheating). The lag time is determined by the streamer, many choose to make it just a few seconds but some do choose longer times, which definitely does inhibit their ability to interact with their audience via chat.

      I really hope they fix the copyrighted song issue you bring up, one of the things I like most about Twitch is learning good new music from

      • by _xeno_ (155264)

        The lag time is determined by the streamer, many choose to make it just a few seconds but some do choose longer times, which definitely does inhibit their ability to interact with their audience via chat.

        Apparently (and I don't know that this is true as I don't use Twitch that often) you can't reduce it to a reasonable time any more. (Maybe it's changed?) All I know is that people I know who do stream games where they want to have audience participation (things like having the stream direct the choices they make in an RPG) have switched to using HitBox due to the amount of lag between when they do something and when the viewers see it.

    • by BitZtream (692029)

      it impossible for streamers to communicate with the stream chat since the stream now has something like 30 seconds of latency between streamer and audience.

      Thats likely intentional, to cut down on cheating by relaying information from the stream being watched back to a player.

    • by ADRA (37398)

      For those not familiar with Twitch, every stream contains a "Now Playing: (Game)" thing with it, and you can select which game you're playing from a pre-defined list of games.

      Bets on how long until that become a link straight to Amazon to buy said game, and how long until streamers become Amazon affiliates and start getting money for driving people to buy their games off Amazon?

      Because that's the only angle I can see Amazon having here: trying to get gamers to grab games off Amazon. (And they do sell digital game downloads, so they do compete with things like Steam.)

      Maybe Amazon can fix some of Twitch's more recent problems like the horrendous stream lag that makes it impossible for streamers to communicate with the stream chat since the stream now has something like 30 seconds of latency between streamer and audience. Then there's Twitch's new weird anti-piracy thing where they mute audio if they detect that the audio contains a copyrighted song (hint: for video games, that's always) and whatever other issues people are complaining about Twitch these days since I never bother to use it.

      Amazon has been smashing faces with Google for a long time, and although I'd hate this be be a spate move (since I actually enjoy Twitch streams a lot), I see this as a fuck you to Google. Of course this isn't Amazon's first foray into streaming video, but it certainly is potentially their biggest dollar spend to build it up.Youtube has all but locked up the mindshare for static video, but most know that Youtube's a relatively small player in Streaming video, and Twitch is the top of the heap of this very s

      • by _xeno_ (155264)

        As for lag, there's no 'lag' between gamer and chat. The streamer can and will put on stream delays to prevent cheaters from attempting to use up to date information against them in-game (Stream cheating does happen alas). There is always a little bit of lag, but generally speaking it doesn't happen notably most of the time.

        I just checked this by trying to stream something. You're wrong, there's an enforced 30-60 second delay between when you do something and when your viewers see it happen, and it's impossible to reduce this without becoming a Twitch partner. It's more than enough to make meaningful chat with viewers impossible.

        I do want IRC integration with twitch chat, but oh well...

        This already exists [twitch.tv]? Granted I haven't tried it recently.

    • by alvinrod (889928)
      That's one angle, but rather unlikely considering how a lot of the games are set up. The most popular games are typically free to play with micro-transactions, which cuts Amazon out of the loop.

      One of the controversies surrounding the YouTube acquisition was that recordings that contained copyright music would be muted, which pissed off everyone since most of the people who stream do so while playing music. If Amazon were smart they would find some way to identify the music and display links to purchase
  • For essentially the largest collection of vanity gaming shares in existence.
  • Payable in lifetime subscriptions to Amazon Prime, Kindle Unlimited and a million in Amazon coins for the app store. If Twitch argues enough they may even score a Fire TV and a Fire phone or two.
  • What is the big idea around streaming games? You'll have to send a 1080p stream for ~60m and it will generate about 500MB of data. An average game will take you 10h to complete so that is 5GB of data. The average game in my Steam library is about 1GB, some are 10 or 15GB but those are the biggest and hopefully will give me a lot more enjoyment than 10h.

    Just send/rent me out the game and install it locally. No need to stream it and invoke 200ms response times.

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