Amazon Acquires Twitch; Is Change on the Horizon?

Oculus, Songza, Nest; just a few of the many recent major acquisitions in the tech world over the past few months. The latest major acquisition came today when Amazon acquired gaming-centric streaming service Twitch for a reported $970 Million (The Wall Street Journal reports). Since its founding three years ago, Twitch has built an ever-growing community of gamers from across the globe. This, paired with the continuing rise of eSporting events and the popularity of “Let’s Play” type videos, has led Amazon to make a move. Amazon is plunging into the gaming community in new ways, many not directly tied to their mammoth e-commerce sector.

 

While I’m sure they are already finding ways to leverage the platform in conjunction with their existing business model; it remains to be seen what major changes are coming to Twitch. Amazon recognizes the viability of this community and only time will tell what fruit this partnership will bare.

Amazon could easily use the platform to promote everything from games and consoles, to computers, microphones, and other equipment commonly used by the streaming community. Integrations with the new Amazon Fire Phone also provide a number of interesting opportunities to further grow the Twitch and Amazon communities.

With Amazon being a retail giant, one has to question what commerce avenues are going to be provided by this. Twitch is the primary streaming partner for the Electronic Entertainment Expo, better known as E3, the industries largest gaming event. As a venue for tailored advertising content, this could provide an ideal outlet for Amazon to reach one of their core demographics without competition.

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Emmett Shear, current CEO of Twitch, released a letter on Twitch’s blog announcing the acquisition and thanking the faithful Twitch community for their unwavering support. In the letter, Shear writes,

“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 rage quit. I think we can all call that a pretty good start.”

It is unclear exactly what Amazon has in store for the Twitch brand, but from the letter written by Shear, it appears as though much of the company will remain operating as-is, at least for the time being. We have seen other brands bought up in the past and left to remain largely as they were pre-merger. The best example of this is Disney’s acquisition of Marvel, which has stayed very true-to-form since becoming a part of the Magic Kingdom. Shear assures us though, “with Amazon’s support we’ll have the resources to bring you an even better Twitch.”

One thing is for sure; with Amazon backing the Twitch brand we can only expect to see the Twitch community continue to mature. This will allow Shear and the Twitch team to focus primarily on improvements to the platform and expanding functionality, making their great product even better.

Read the full letter from Shear to the Twitch community here.

What do you think this acquisition means for Twitch? Do you think Twitch would have better off going a different direction? What changes do you hope to see implemented with Amazon at the helm? Let us know in the comments below!

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Sean Winnett
Written by
Sean Winnett is a Marketing and Public Relations professional based in Boise, Idaho. He is also a video game journalist covering everything from gaming industry news to video game reviews and eSporting coverage. He received his degree in Mass Communication & Journalism from Boise State University in 2010, and has spent time working for some of the largest Marketing, Advertising & PR agencies in the Pacific Northwest. In addition to gaming, Sean is a diehard fan of College Football and spends his free time playing guitar, acting as the commissioner of a college football fantasy league and keeping up with his favorite TV shows (Doctor Who, The League, & The Walking Dead).

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