The official announcement came in a letter from Twitch CEO Emmett Shear to the Twitch Community, stating that Twitch has been acquired by ecommerce and publishing giant Amazon. Unless you live under a rock, Twitch (www.twitch.tv) is the gaming world’s choice for live streaming game activity. Startups showcase their new games, players show off their mad skills, guilds broadcast raids, the new gaming sport holds competitions streamed lived via Twitch; and many of the videos become highlights which are then fed up to YouTube. The user-generated content on Twitch mainly consists of games, all sorts of games. From hardcore computer games like EVE Online and World of Warcraft to console games like Halo and Grand Theft Auto.
Back in May, the talk was Google’s YouTube would be the natural buyer of Twitch – after all, YouTube is the largest video viewing platform on the internet of user generated content. It only made sense that the gamer’s stream would be a perfect matchup. Twitch users were looking forward to a simpler interface between the two with possibilities of better quality results for sharing and merging of accounts with money making goals in mind. Alas, something happened with the perfect pairing, and talks between the two ended.
Other internet giant’s then started wooing Twitch like Sony and Yahoo! with Amazon stepping into the discussions a bit later. Announced on August 25th, news started spreading through financial publications, but didn’t really make sway to the community until the letter from Shear hit Twitch users’ mailboxes. “We chose Amazon because they believe in our community,” Shear states in his email, “they share our values and long-term vision, and they want to help us get there faster.” Promises of keeping much everything the same at Twitch, office, employees and brand, show that Amazon is letting Twitch be independent.
In recent weeks there has been some apprehension about what is changing at Twitch. No longer are complete broadcasts being saved indefinitely. Instead, account holders have only two weeks to slice highlights from their broadcasts. Broadcast lengths are sporadic, the average broadcast time running about 4 hours. Some broadcasts run as long as 3 days! Understandably, needing to cut back on the amount of perpetually stored broadcasts is necessary. Twitch had sent another email earlier this week alerting broadcaster to cut and save highlights as starting on August 27, Past Broadcasts will be removed. Standard Twitch users will have 14 days to keep past broadcasts, and Twitch Turbo subscribers will have 60 days.Twitch provided instructions for saving a broadcast to your computer via OBS and XSplit.
Amazon’s interests are speculated to be geared toward the potential for advertising revenues. Gamers (mostly young males who are tech savvy) are a hard to reach demographic for standard advertising campaigns. Amazon best be careful though, for many gamers might not like too much intrusion on their live streams and highlights. Amazon already owns several other internet entities like IMdb.com and Audible.com.
Shear closes his email thanking the Twitch community. Mentioning how he, and others at Twitch are, themselves, gamers as well who “… never dreamed they’d get to help shape the face of the industry we love so much.” Indeed.
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Update: On another note, it seems this has brought the attention of Lizard Squad as right now Twtich.tv is inaccessible. Reddit users already screaming foul.
Final Update: With the “4head offerings” from Twitter users, Lizard Squad claims to end the DDOS on Twitch.tv. Stream on.