Variety reports that Google's YouTube is in talks to acquire video game streaming service Twitch for a billion dollars, in cold, hard cash. The news comes in the wake of Apple's purchase of the ill-fated Beats Audio and AT&T's acquisition of DirecTV. There's conflicting reports circulating about the deal being already signed and others claiming it is still in the early stages, so we'll have to wait and see what comes out of this, but if it goes ahead, it will give Google a seemingly insurmountable advantage in the online video space.
Twitch is a live streaming service that allows Xbox and Playstation gamers to watch live feeds of other gamers in action and interact with them and other viewers via an integrated chat room. The service has become immensely popular and reportedly receives over 45 million visitors a month (YouTube has a billion). Twitch's live feeds are also archived and the service shares an ad-based revenue model like YouTube, so the two services are definitely compatible.
If the acquisition goes ahead, and there's no guarantee yet that it will, YouTube would pick up Twitch for a billion dollars. YouTube was acquired by Google back in 2006 for 1.65 billion. This may seem like a crazy investment considering the usage rates and comparative pricing, but Google is obviously keen to build a streaming video monopoly and snapping up Twitch before it gets any bigger makes a lot of sense, especially if Google has recognized the relatively untapped potential of direct streaming support for gaming. We'll see what online regulators have to say about the deal.
Would you be keen for a Google-owned gamer streaming service? Do you think they could bring the service to Android?