UPDATE: The reports were true. Amazon is buying Twitch for roughly $970 million. The deal is expected to close in the second half of 2014.
“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 in a press release. “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 published a statement as the news went live:
"Dear Twitch Community, It’s almost unbelievable that slightly more than 3 years ago, Twitch didn’t exist. The moment we launched, we knew we had stumbled across something special. But what followed surprised us as much as anyone else, and the impact it’s had on both the community and us has been truly profound. Your talent, your passion, your dedication to gaming, your memes, your brilliance - these have made Twitch what it is today. Every day, we strive to live up to the standard set by you, the community. We want to create the very best place to share your gaming and life online, and that mission continues to guide us. Together with you, we’ve found new ways of connecting developers and publishers with their fans. We’ve created a whole new kind of career that lets people make a living sharing their love of games. We’ve brought billions of hours of entertainment, laughter, joy and the occasional ragequit. I think we can all call that a pretty good start. Today, I’m pleased to announce we’ve been acquired by Amazon. 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. 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. I personally want to thank you, each and every member of the Twitch community, for what you’ve created. Thank you for putting your faith in us. Thank you for sticking with us through growing pains and stumbles. Thank you for bringing your very best to us and sharing it with the world. Thank you, from a group of gamers who never dreamed they’d get to help shape the face of the industry that we love so much. It’s dangerous to go alone. On behalf of myself and everyone else at Twitch, thank you for coming with us."
It seems inevitable that Twitch is getting sold. The first reports suggested Google would pick up the popular streaming service, but both The Wall Street Journal and The Information (both outlets require a subscription) are reporting it's actually Amazon.
(This certainly makes Venture Beat's headline about Google from weeks back seem a bit silly. Confirmed!)
According to the WSJ, negotiations between Google and Twitch "cooled" in the last few weeks. It's also possible the Amazon buyout could be announced later today, assuming everything goes as planned.
So, what say you? Is Amazon a better or worse home for Twitch?