Having to compete with livestreamers and popular gaming channels, Google have purchased Twitch for $1 billion to increase their video influence.
Gaming isn’t just about the playing any more – it’s about the thrill of a quick succession of button presses that gets you the winning kill in Call of Duty, or the trickshot that scores a magnificent goal in FIFA or the play that outsmarts your opponent to get to checkmate in an online game of chess if that’s really your thing. Hey, no judgement from me. In short, these days gaming is very much about the spectacle which is why folks like PewDiePie rake in $4 million a year from humble beginnings as a YouTuber who just liked to make videos about the games he was playing. And we know a lot about how these YouTubers are making money and how journalism is very much migrating to the service but outside of YouTube, millions are also being made using Twitch, with many gamers preferring to watch the hottest slices of gaming action live rather than videos that are pre-recorded, edited and displayed hours later for a delayed audience to see. YouTube was having to compete in a big way against popular streamers displaying eSports matches (such as games in League of Legends) so if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em which is exactly why YouTube’s parent company, Google, has just bought Twitch for $1 billion.
That figure might seem like a high price but in actual fact, Google has got itself a bargain deal here as the burgeoning rise of eSports means that more and more people are watching streamed eSports shows and streamed eSports games every single day, with Twitch being included on PS4 and Xbox One which only helps to further drive up the numbers of its 50 million monthly active users. And it’s also a great investment from the company as having Twitch in their back pocket now allows them to encourage more gamers to use their site as well as Twitch’s efforts will now be supported by Google and YouTube’s multi-billion dollar backend rather than a well put together team that was searching for investors as their growing popularity led to growing costs.
For existing YouTube users though, don’t expect revolutionary change but rather a much more subtle one. The video site already caters to music lovers in a big way with shows such as the YouTube Music Awards and streamed concerts showing that, so we can just expect eSports tournaments and gaming events to be promoted in a big way too which is fine if you’re into that and the banners that usually promote these events are only a clicked ‘x’ away from making them disappear anyway. Furthermore, YouTube is especially good at recommending things for us based on our individual tastes so if your video history suggests that you hate gaming like it’s the worst thing to happen to you since Arrested Development got cancelled, then, I wouldn’t expect YouTube to shove gaming streams in your face either.
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