Google seals deal to buy Twitch, report says

Has Google’s YouTube division sealed a deal to buy Twitch, the live video-game streaming service? VentureBeat’s Dean Takahashi is reporting that he’s confirmed it with his sources, who say the deal is worth $1 billion.

Takahashi is a veteran Silicon Valley reporter (and a former Merc tech writer) who’s been covering the game industry for a long time. So we’re inclined to take his exclusive report as solid.  The best we could get from a Google spokesman yesterday was: “We don’t comment on rumor or speculation.”

But as we reported in May, the deal makes a lot of sense for Google. Here’s what we wrote then:

“More than 45 million fans visit each month, where they watch live webcasts of other people playing their favorite video games. The number has more than doubled over the past year, according to Twitch, which makes money in part from showing ads … The site’s audience is dwarfed by the billion-plus individuals who visit Google’s YouTube each month, but visitors stay on Twitch for hours, rather than watching a few minutes of clips and moving on.”

We talked to some avid Twitch viewers and a professional player who uses the Twitch platform. And according to Mark Fisher, a vice president at Redwood City-based Qwilt, which sells networking technology and tracks streaming patterns: “When it comes to engagement, these fans are maniacal.”

It seems likely that new YouTube chief Susan Wojcicki would like to get that audience for YouTube’s advertising clients. Stay tuned.

(A Twitch video is seen on an iPad / Twitch photo)




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