Story 2014-07-25 3RQ Google confirms purchase of Twitch for $1 billion

Google confirms purchase of Twitch for $1 billion

in games on (#3RQ)
story imageAfter all the rumours and speculation, back-and-forth, and legal wrangling, it is complete: Google has completed its purchase of Twitch.

We had heard rumours about it, but it's now official. The exact price of purchase and official announcement are yet to come, but investors are reportedly happy about the deal. Considering Google's ownership of Youtube, this will give them firm control over online game session streaming. Venturebeat states:
The deal underscores the value of live Internet streaming and the rise of competitive gaming as a spectator sport — something that draws millions of viewers, can offer prize pools that surpass pro golf’s marquee events, and provides a multibillion dollar opportunity for advertisers.
Author note: What do you think of this, pipers? (That's how we're calling ourselves, right?) Considering Google's often clumsy attempts to control copyrighted material on Youtube, does this spell doom for many Twitch channels? As Twitch users would say, is it time for us to declare: "Rip in peace, Twitch."?
Reply 3 comments

I don't get it (Score: 3, Insightful)

by on 2014-07-25 19:26 (#2N1)

(I always thought we were "Pipe Heads" ha ha ha but that brings up different imagery, I suppose).

Got to confess I don't get this purchase because I don't get this economy. Gaming I get, though I'm not really a gaming. But competitive game-watching seems kind of pathetic to me, and yet it's a huge, apparently billion dollar economy? Consider me mystified. 'Scuze me while I go cut the grass of my lawn using a push, bladed-reel lawnmower, apparently.

Re: I don't get it (Score: 4, Interesting)

by on 2014-07-25 21:06 (#2N7)

No doubt you will also be screaming for kids to get off of said lawn. :)

I don't think there's any argument for the ridiculousness of e-sports that can't be applied to real sports, to be honest. In both cases you are passively watching people much, much better than you compete together in some activity you like to engage in. People like to watch because they are able to marvel at the skill on display, discuss tactics and events with their friends, cheer for their favourites, and generally feel like some part of a community.

It's also crossing into the real world. There are many pubs around the world which will display e-sport events on their screens, and friends will gather to watch the games the same way they'd watch soccer or hockey

As far as the economics go, this is interesting. Valve's The International 4 event for DOTA 2, which was last week, had a prize pool of 10 million $ for the top 8 teams, but that was entirely founded through in-game purchases by the players. I think e-sports still have work to do to attract sponsors. Typically, computer hardware companies have been happy to contribute some money, but ideally you want events to be sponsored by the big ones: Coke, McDonalds, cable companies, etc. I think that with young people who have grown up on these games aging, this will soon be a reality.

However, that's just big events. Twitch is a whole lot more than that. There are many people who just watch players stream their gaming sessions because they want to improve their own play, learn about new games or generally just hang out with friends and chat, with the game being like a show running on a TV in the background. All these smaller streams taken together add up to a whole lot of advertising money. At any time there are hundreds of thousands of people watching stuff on Twitch. I think this is a great move by Google because they now essentially have a monopoly on this market. However, I fear their overzealous practices when it comes to copyright will ruin Twitch. I'm hoping someone else will start a service to compete, but given the dominance of youtube, a service that has been the source of many complaints recently, I'm not holding my breath.

Better Google integration? (Score: 3, Interesting)

by on 2014-07-25 21:17 (#2N9)

The main thing I'd hope for out of this acquisition is better integration into the Google world. The Twitch Android app is pretty embarrassing (no way at all to watch replays), and neither the app nor the website support Chromecast, despite it being one of the best possible fits for the device.