Online retail giant, Amazon.com, scored a major coup in late September 2014 by acquiring Twitch, an online platform for live streaming and viewing video game sessions (also known as “e-sports”). Internet platforms such as Twitch allow users to stream themselves playing video games or to watch others play video games.
The $970 million price tag may seem too high for those unfamiliar with twitch’s popularity and potential. However, Twitch is a likely choice for Amazon, which is increasingly focusing on media and direct competition with other online media titans such as Google and Netflix. Twitch was launched in June 2011 by 2 young internet entrepreneurs, has grown incredibly since that time and now serves 55+million active users per month.
In fact, Google was supposedly set to buy Twitch for approximately $1 Billion only a few months ago but Twitch CEO and co-founder Emmett Shear ultimately opted for Amazon because Amazon will allow him to remain as CEO and run Twitch independently. In addition, he hopes to significantly enhance the experience through Amazon’s extensive resources.
What is the attraction of watching someone else play a video game? I sampled Twitch and watched some guy play pinball for a few minutes, which reminded me of watching televised fishing shows. It didn’t interest me much. Clearly, I am a fossil, for viewing online gaming is hugely popular around the globe. Proponents claim that watching e-sports is a lot like watching televised sports and big tournaments on Twitch have drawn as many as a million viewers at a time. The site’s popularity is also underscored by the prize money awarded in gaming tournaments: the 2014 “International,” a yearly e-sports tournament, supposedly raised nearly $11 million in prize money. Even gamers and commentators have become celebrities on the worldwide web.
Amazon has tapped into a potential gold mine, based on “eyeball metrics” alone. According to Amazon’s CEO, tens of millions of people watch billions of minutes of online gaming each month. Amazon intends to enhance and use that platform expansively going forward.
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