Ever heard of Twitch? Gamers certainly have, and Amazon has demonstrated it knows the video-game streaming company's value by buying it for a whopping £1 billion.
To call Amazon a book-seller at this point is simply not accurate. The company has blossomed into so much more; manufacturing smartphones, tablets, e-readers and pretty much selling everything under the sun. Hell, as a retailer, it is a one-stop-shop for anything, such as streaming media, groceries, and hygiene products to name a few.
Yes, Amazon is trying to be all things to all consumers and quite frankly, it is working. Now the company's tentacles have snared yet another endeavour as it acquires video-game-streaming company, Twitch, for close to a billion dollars.
"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. 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", says Jeff Bezos, founder and CEO of Amazon.com.
Twitch CEO Emmett Shear explains, "Amazon and Twitch optimize for our customers first and are both believers in the future of gaming. 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".
Google was rumoured to buy the service for some time, but it seems that ultimately fell-through.
Quite frankly, that is probably for the best, as the search-giant already owns YouTube. It can be assumed that had Google acquired Twitch, it could have been folded into YouTube, essentially killing its charm with gamers. We may never know how close the deal was - if it ever existed.
Believe it or not, people like watching other people play video games. It's a weird concept, but not really new. I recall my days of youth, crowded around an NES with 5 to 10 other neighbourhood kids waiting for a turn at Super Mario Brothers - everyone owning their own was absurd. I would spend more time watching others play, than playing myself and it was great. Twitch just brings this to the internet.
Don't forget, Amazon is already in the video game business with the Fire TV. It gets overlooked, but the streaming media box is a very capable Android-powered console that has an optional controller. I play games in my living room with it, and have a blast -- it feels like a modern console for a fraction of the price.
Will Amazon help or hurt Twitch? Let us know in the comments.