In a surprising move, leading gaming-themed streaming video portal Twitch announced today that it has been purchased by Amazon. The Seattle-based e-commerce company confirmed the deal, saying it acquired the online video platform for $970 million. The deal is slated to be finalized during the second half of 2014.
"Broadcasting and watching gameplay is a global phenomenon, and 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," Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon.com, said in a statement. "And, amazingly, Twitch is only three years old. Like Twitch, we obsess over customers and like to think differently, and we look forward to learning from them and helping them move even faster to build new services for the gaming community."
This past June, Twitch had more than 55 million unique visitors and upward of 15 billion minutes of video viewed. More than 1 billion users publish content on the site. YouTube had been reportedly courting the streaming video site since May, but it seems that Amazon may have beat them to the punch.
Twitch CEO Emmett Shear thanked the company's online audience on a blog post, adding that it would not be moving offices, rebranding, getting rid of employees, and would retain "independence" from its new parent company. "We chose Amazon because they believe in our community, they share our values and long-term vision, and they want to help us get there faster. ... But with Amazon’s support we'll have the resources to bring you an even better Twitch," he wrote.