Google to Buy Live Gaming Service Twitch for $1 Billion

Signals new direction for YouTube

Google has closed a deal to purchase livestreaming gaming service Twitch for $1 billion, according to VentureBeat, which cites anonymous sources close to the matter.

Neither Google nor Twitch have commented on the deal, and it’s unclear so far what the exact purchase price is and when the deal will be officially announced.

Variety first reported in May that Google “had reached a preliminary pact to acquire Twitch for $1 billion.” The acquisition, handled by Google’s YouTube division, will bolster Google’s live Internet streaming offerings considerably, and likely represents a “significant transformation of YouTube’s business,” according to VentureBeat.

Twitch was created in 2011 by Justin Kan and Emmett Shear, who also cofounded the livestreaming website The service (which now houses allows gameplayers to broadcast their live PC, XBox One, or Playstation 4 sessions to viewers around the world.

When it first launched in mid-2011, Twitch had 3.2 million monthly users. Its growth over the last three years has been staggering. The service now has at least 45 million monthly users and 1.1 million members who broadcast live gameplay sessions. In March of this year, it represented 1.35 percent of all Internet traffic.

In addition to hosting live gameplay, Twitch also broadcasts shows from partners including Joystiq, Destructoid, and CBS Interactive’s GameSpot.

How Twitch and YouTube will coexist remains to be seen. YouTube is currently the uncontested No. 1 platform for video, boasting some six billion hours of video per month and one billion viewers across the globe.

While Google’s exact purchase price remains unknown, it is telling that Twitch investors, including Bessemer Venture Partners and Draper Associates, are “pleased that they will be getting significant returns that are multiple times” the original $35 million they collectively invested, VentureBeat reports.