updated 04:50 am EDT, Mon May 19, 2014
Google, YouTube, Twitch in acquisition discussions, deal possibly struck already
Game video streaming service Twitch could be acquired by Google in the future, according to reports. The deal, according to Variety, is said to have been reached between Twitch and the Google-owned YouTube, with the all-cash offer claimed to be worth at least $1 billion, though the Wall Street Journal believes the two companies are in early-stage discussions, and are not imminently close to an acquisition.
Launched in 2011, Twitch allows gamers to stream footage of games online, allowing others to watch and chat about in-game events. While YouTube does cater for both live streaming and gaming, Twitch extends this by allowing players to stream from within the game itself, with both the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 having the capability to stream without the user requiring to use a host PC to encode or upload the video, and also created an SDK for developers to stream from mobile-based titles.
Twitch claims to have more than 45 million monthly users, with 1 million members uploading videos monthly. While YouTube continues to hold the lion's share of the online video market, the Wall Street Journal reports Twitch is leading YouTube Live, accounting for close to 44 percent of US-based live-streaming traffic in early April.
The two differ wildly in terms of audience and gaming content, with TubeMogul head of agency development Seth Bardelas claiming the viewers of Twitch will watch the long-form content for "hours on end," allowing it to command higher advertising prices in comparison to the shorter clips offered by YouTube. Current champion for gaming on YouTube, Felix "PewDiePie" Kjellberg, commands close to 27 million subscribers with his "Let's Play" videos. Twitch, on the other hand, hosts streams from GameSpot, Joystiq, and other game-related online publications and communities, as well as being the online venue for various major gaming tournaments.