Amazon buys Twitch for $970m

In a move that surprised many who assumed that Google had already sealed the deal, Amazon has acquired video gamer streaming site Twitch for $970m in cash.

The deal should help Amazon expand its video streaming offerings, including Amazon Prime Instant Video, as the ecommerce giant competes against Netflix and Hulu in the content space.

It also gives Amazon a foothold in the lucrative video game market. Amazon’s Fire TV device, launched earlier this year, has gaming capabilities.

Founded by Justin Kan and Emmett Shear in 2011, Twitch streams content aimed at gamers, including living gaming footage, commentary and online shows. The site has more than 55 million unique monthly visitors, who are viewing more than 15 billion minutes of content.

Videos on the site can also be streamed on Microsoft Xbox and PlayStation 4 game consoles.

Google was reportedly in talks to buy the streaming site earlier this year and it remains unclear why the deal fell through.

“Broadcasting and watching gameplay is a global phenomenon,” said Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos said in a statement. “Twitch has built a platform that brings together tens of millions of people who watch billions of minutes of games each month – from The International, to breaking the world record for Mario, to gaming conferences like E3.”

“Amazon and Twitch optimize for our customers first and are both believers in the future of gaming,” Shear said in a statement.

“Being part of Amazon will let us do even more for our community. We will be able to create tools and services faster than we could have independently. This change will mean great things for our community, and will let us bring Twitch to even more people around the world.”