Yowza. So much for Sunday being a slow news day. About an hour after AT&T officially announces their plans to buy DirecTV, word of another billion-dollar acquisition has surfaced.
The story this time around: Google/YouTube reportedly want Twitch.tv, the increasingly/explosively popular service meant to let gamers watch others play games, live. The purported price tag? 1 billion.
According to Variety, it’s already a done deal, and they say the official announcement is looming.
The WSJ, meanwhile, says the talks are very early on – too early for a price to be set, even.
While the concept behind Twitch might seem crazy (I can’t even count the number of people I’ve heard ask “Why would you want to watch someone else play video games?”), the service has done nothing but rocket in popularity since launching back in 2011.
Turns out, people like to watch other people play games. With competitive games, like League of Legends, gamers watch to learn; with other, more casual games, like Minecraft, they watch just to be entertained.
Twitch.tv is actually something of an oddity, in that it’s an independent spin-off of another company.
A few years after launching Justin.tv (another video livestreaming service, meant primarily to stream live video from your webcam) its founders noticed that the site’s gaming channels always managed to pull in particularly massive numbers. In 2011, they spun the site’s Gaming section into a site of its own — Twitch.tv. By 2014, Twitch had grown so huge that the parent company was rebranded as Twitch Interactive.
For those keeping track: Twitch has raised roughly $35M since becoming an independent company.