Amazon buys Twitch for US$970 million

Twitch screenshotAmazon has agreed to buy Twitch, a video platform and community for videogame enthusiasts, for US$970 million in cash. 

The deal follows reports from May that linked YouTube to the videogame site, with Google-owned YouTube said to be ready to imminently announce an acquisition for a similar US$1 billion price tag.

Announcing the deal, Amazon said that Twitch had more than 55 million unique visitors in July, who viewed more than 15 billion minutes of content on the site, produced by more than 1 million broadcasters.

US-based Twitch launched in June 2011 is used by gamers to live-broadcast, watch and chat about videogames. Users can stream their gameplay direct from their connected Xbox or PlayStation consoles.

Amazon said that the site is also used by publishers, developers, media outlets, conventions and e-sports organisations – as well as by individual gamers.

“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,” said Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos.

“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.”

Twitch CEO Emmett Shear added: “Being part of Amazon will let us do even more for our community. We will be able to create tools and services faster than we could have independently. This change will mean great things for our community, and will let us bring Twitch to even more people around the world.”

Twitch’s shareholders have approved the cash deal, which is expected to close in the second half of 2014, subject to customary closing conditions.