Dream Stream: $1bn Google Bid For Twitch Rumoured

By Adam Smith on May 19th, 2014 at 10:35 am.

Streaming is big business. During peak usage times in the US of A, Netflix and Twitch.tv are two of the largest sources of internet traffic, as people across the country watch films, TV shows (or are they just ‘shows’ now, without the ‘TV’?), live esports and other game streams. Little wonder then that Twitch is the target of a takeover, with multiple suitors, including Microsoft, already rebuffed according to sources who have spoken to The Verge and Variety. Numerous reports place Google in pole position, with a billion dollars on the table.

The Verge reckon Google are ready to stump up that cool billion, which would presumably lead to Youtube integration of some sort. Youtwitch and Twitchtube are surefire hits should rebranding take place. The Wall Street Journal reckons talks are at an early stage, with no figure yet agreed, and their news story has share prices integrated into its text, which is almost certainly a sign of responsible fiscal reporting.

Youtube already has streaming capabilities but Twitch attracts more traffic than the George Washington Bridge. Handling all of those concurrent users is tricky, which is why the company needs investment and Google apparently has a spare billion dollars between the cushions on its sofa. It’s a deal that makes sense, even if the thought of two internet giants (both in the top four sources of US peak traffic) combining is slightly unnerving. Like seeing an elephant swallow a hippo or Pfizer washing AstraZeneca down like a bitter little pill.

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57 Comments »

  1. Lord Byte says:

    I’m not convinced this is the best step. Google hasn’t got the best track-record supporting gamers or the features they require… Or keeping the companies they buy in one piece.

    • Cinek says:

      I’m sure they will supply gamers with even more spyware. They got an amazing track record in that.

  2. Gothnak says:

    Google potentially happy to bay $1 billion to buy a games streaming website, no British TV stations happy to pay anything to make a TV show about games.

    • Steven Hutton says:

      And when was the last time you watched broadcast television? As it was broadcast? And left the adverts on?

      • melnificent says:

        They still do broadcast TV?

      • Gothnak says:

        Gah… you have a point….

        I watch Bargain Hunt… (for my sins, my partner works in the antiques trade)

      • bills6693 says:

        TV is always on in our house. Broadcast, not recorded (we only have freeview). Ads and all (unless its on BBC of course, no ads there!)

        I don’t know if your meaning was in regards to TV viewership in general or among the ‘gaming’ demographic but I can tell you that live TV viewership in general is still very high. My house, my friends houses, the TV is on most of the time someone is in the living room.

        (I should qualify saying I am a university student, thus the members of my hosue and those of my friends are all in the range of 20-25. Among other demographics I’d not know. Plus this is only my own personal experience)

        • Tams80 says:

          Ah, those wistful hours spent watching Bargain Hunt and Antiques Roadshow when there was absolutely, definitely not any work to be done.

    • Ross Angus says:

      You make a good point. I suspect that we shouldn’t see broadcast television as a reflection of general culture: for example there is perhaps one music show on UK TV currently (Later) and very few shows about cinema. Compare that with how many shows there are about crime and the police, and the picture becomes more clear: TV will make shows which work on TV. We are not a nation obsessed with crime and in love with the police, we just like seeing them going about their business on TV, for some reason.

      I’d love to see the Not A Game or Crate and Crowbar podcasts televised in a sort of review show format, but I suspect such a broadcast would bring in pitiful viewing figures (me, basically).

  3. JustAPigeon says:

    Connect with your Google+ account to join chat.

    • RaveTurned says:

      If this happens, I’m jumping over to the nearest competing service so fast.

      There is one, right? Right?

      • almostDead says:

        I tried to comment on some Magic being played last night and it said, ‘you have to login with Facebook connect to chat here’. I was already logged in via Twitch.

        So, it’s an absolute certainty, so the data-aggregators can know your business.

      • Raiyan 1.0 says:

        With the FCC killing off net neutrality, there won’t be any other new competitive service.

        • Frank says:

          The FCC wants net neutrality, but are struggling to get it past the courts.

          • Raiyan 1.0 says:

            Ummm, no. The FCC chairman Tom Wheeler is a former cable TV lobbyist. He’s not here to look out for us. Here’s an excerpt from Wikipedia.

            In late April 2014 the contours of a document leaked that indicated that Wheeler’s FCC would consider promulgating rules allowing Internet service providers (ISPs) to violate Net Neutrality principles by making it easier for Internet users to access certain content — whose owners paid fees to the ISPs (including cable companies and wireless ISPs) — and harder to access other content,[9] thus undermining the traditional open architecture of the Internet.

            Read more:

            http://www.escapistmagazine.com/articles/view/scienceandtech/11469-The-Net-Neutrality-Sellout-Still-Bad-But-Whats-Next

        • Gargenville says:

          I guess one bit of good news is Google can afford to bribe ISPs into actually providing internet service.

      • darkkai3 says:

        Hitbox is the new competitor to Twitch. It doesn’t look quite as slick as Twitch, but in terms of it working, it’s remarkably more stable than the twitchy-ness of Twitch.

    • frightlever says:

      I have a G+ account and an old Youtube account, registered with the same gmail address. Hey, want to start using your G+ account on Youtube? Sure I do. Except then all my watch laters, and collections disappear. Genius.

      • Thermal Ions says:

        I had a similar issue with all my subscriptions effectively disappearing as they remained on my Youtube account but I was stuck logging in with Google+. It’s a little hazy, but I believe I did some fiddling after taking some info from the below video and got the subs ultimately transferred over to the Google+ login. I may have also done some targeted Google searches based upon the video discussion to get it working.

    • Jimmy says:

      I hate the modern web. It is all collapsing into a single traceable and marketed identity which follows everything you do online, and which with modern facial tracking systems, will soon comprise everything you do offline. All of it with a back door, facilitated or created, for spy agencies. How can this be a good thing? Like the Google take-down story, you only choose what you want to have hidden, not what is stored forever at the distributed back-end. Even my goddamn work email is google-based so I cannot just choose not to enroll. That argument about consumer choice is bullshit as this buyout is showing. /end rant

    • Frank says:

      Oh god, I forgot about that. I do not want to tie my game-watching persona to my RL person.

  4. satan says:

    you-itch? :D

  5. Nevard says:

    No idea what I think about this, you can say a lot of things about Google but one of them is “they have a hell of a lot of money, and know their way around servers”.
    Would I be wrong to cross my fingers for an end to chat delay?

  6. Kollega says:

    I know that this is a stupid and naive point of view, but every time I hear about some megacorporation gobbling up either another megacorporation or some wildly successful upstart, I think to myself that antitrust regulators should really spend a lot less time being asleep/drunk/vacationing/dead/etc.

  7. dE says:

    What’s this sound as if hundreds of streamers cried out in agony and then suddenly stopped? For streamers and their viewers, this is bad news. It’s also somewhat ironic, given how many of them changed ship because of the Content ID Debacle.

    • AngelTear says:

      Are you saying that they stopped screaming because the screaming sound is copyrighted property of Evil Company #175 and its affiliates?

      • dE says:

        Yep, screaming into the microphone is copyrighted by PEWDIEPIE. The Automatic Content ID Match thus squelches all Streams with shouting and screeching people. Which is just about all of them. *runs*

        • Harlander says:

          So what you’re telling me is “It’s not all bad news”?

    • Thermal Ions says:

      Actually for viewers in many parts of Australia it probably actually good news as the routing we get stuck with from Twitch general is abysmal. I used to watch DOTA2 matches via Twitch but it’s nigh on impossible now with even the lowest quality continually caching and hitching. It just seems to go no where near saturating the available bandwidth while other streaming sites such as Youtube do.

  8. melnificent says:

    People left youtube for twitch as it was plagued by takedown notices aimed at Lets Players and reviewers. What’s the next site after twitch?

  9. peterako1989 says:

    Twitch now will change layout every month getting worse and worse, and all that hustle with copyright strikes will be featured in it too!

    How awesome is that!?

    • trueplayer says:

      To be fair, anything will be ‘more awesome’ than the current Twitch layout.

      • Marik Bentusi says:

        Really? I think it’s pretty good. Lets you focus on the video, minimize whatever functions you don’t care about, and even some banner ads. YouTube’s a messy clusterfuck by comparison in my opinion.

  10. RedViv says:

    And then the entirety of Twitch was shut down because it violated copyright thingies of random people by showing game footage. Wooo!

  11. acu says:

    If that happens, they will probably remove Twitch Turbo. Then I have to use AdBlock again and don’t support streamers anymore.. just great. I just wish Youtube had a similar thing.

  12. Frank says:

    “Youtube already has streaming capabilities but Twitch attracts more traffic than the George Washington Bridge”

    Yup, kind of like how Google bought YouTube even though they had a Google Videos service that worked just fine.

  13. cpy says:

    Google will forcefully suggest to use googleplus to be able to comment on twitch. Google is my enemy now.

  14. Megakoresh says:

    This is not good if this happens. Simple reason being how terrible Youtube is. How many people were unjustly screwed over by the ignorant and completely disrespectful Youtube copyright staff? Not to mention the automated copyright strikes and channel shutdowns due to false accusations without the possibility of reinstatement.

    Youtube does a terrible job at providing a healthy and safe environment for content creators to operate in and due to it’s monopoly it’s doing nothing to improve itself. If Google infects Twitch with this shit, that is one less decent competitor out of the sky. It can not be good.

    • Baines says:

      Probably why Google is doing it. They bought YouTube to obtain the majority of the market, only to see people leaving YouTube for alternatives. Instead of “fixing” YouTube, they’ve moved on to buying one of the destinations.

      • Moraven says:

        Twitch is not an alternate destination to Youtube, its a completely different one. Most if not all video broadcasted on Twitch is uploaded to Youtube also. Twitch does not have a good search system to find older videos well, while Youtube’s channels allow the content creator to customize their older content and make it easier to find.

  15. Tei says:

    Its like a fire in the forest.

    Animals runs away from corporate policies, mandated G++ accounts, copyright takedown notices… but the fire of corporate idioticy is faster than them, and engulf them in flames, killing them.

  16. SkittleDiddler says:

    Everything Google touches turns to datamined shit. I expect whatever positive qualities Twitch may currently have will be gone in one year’s time. Sad.

  17. fish99 says:

    I guess we’ll see a 99% reduction in the variety of music on streams if this happens.

  18. Moraven says:

    Twitch could use more global servers, locations and an expanded ad network.

    I really really hope this would be more of a partnership than being sold out and integrated into Google.

    I imagine the Twitch brand will live on. justin.tv had to have a gaming focuse site in twitch since it became most of their traffic and eventually rebranded as Twitch Interactive.

  19. Polifemo says:

    On the bright side this probably means better streaming quality, being able to have more quality options on non-popular streamers and VODs (since they both default to the highest possible quality for some odd reason).

    On the downside I’ve almost completely stopped using YouTube since it tries to shove google+ down my throat and it having 50% of the screen occupied by ads and “watch this shit we handpicked for you” bars unless you go full screen.
    Also the whole “were gonna lower the video quality to 3 pixels at random times unless you manually lock the quality for every video at the start” thing gets negative cool points.

    Didnt Google say they would stop with the google+shoving a while ago? Will I be able to opinion away in YouTube again without a g+?
    I feel I would lose something important if I bothered to google these questions to which the answers are probably “yes” and “no one bloody knows but probably not”.

  20. Tams80 says:

    I’m getting a bit fed up with these homogenons (is that a word? The all seeing Google says no.) gobbling up everything.

    Yes, I understand these companies get access to more funding and expertise in quite a few cases, but it still makes me feel uncomfortable. Maybe I’ll wash off any dirty feelings from using their products with some products made by Unilever.

  21. SuddenSight says:

    Am I the only one who thinks that buyout price sounds a bit low?

    Maybe it’s just the Oculus Rift Acquisition for 2 billion, but Twitch seems like it would be worth more than just a billion. Especially considering they are already making profits, and have established a business model that seems guaranteed to grow as time goes on. I don’t see the benefit to Twitch for selling to Google (other than the big cash payout).

    I can see why Google would want to buy them, but I hope they fail. I don’t want the entire internet to belong to just one company.

  22. AlexHeartnet says:

    What the fudge Google why do you keep swallowing up more and more and more of the internet like some evil all-consuming monstrosity? Seriously! The main problem here isn’t Google’s poor track record, but it’s that Google is evidently trying to monopolize the internet!

    Google makes money. Google invests the money in buying out something so they can make more money to invest in more buyouts…

  23. MkMax says:

    Im actually happy something is changing

    twitch couldnt possible get any worse that it is right now, the twitch lag they introduced (supposedly to help mobile apps witch i cant use because they removed support for pre ICS android in an update without warning) killed interactive streams, esports make the entire site work like crap half the time and since twitchplayspokemon, the chat went to crap eating 10-20% of your msgs and never recovered, its been a long time for each of these problems and current twitch has done nothing at all

    so at least this is a chance for something to get fixed or at least give a better opportunity to the other streaming services (that are already in process of getting destroyed by esport sponsored ddos)

    • AlexHeartnet says:

      Google’s improvements to their services as of late have been anything but. I’d love to use an alternative service, but for something like this you are basically stuck using the same things other people are.

  24. HisDivineOrder says:

    I expect Youtube and Twitch remain separate brands with Youtube hitting mostly TV, movies, regular camera content with a heavy emphasis on paid content like shows or movies. Twitch’ll focus on streamed games with a heavy emphasis on Live streaming of gaming content that second to second matters less than the overall streaming of the gaming mechanics.

    What this really represents to me is Google looking for the next Facebook and trying to buy them out this time rather than wait till they become another juggernaut that can challenge their hegemony on something they think they’ve got cemented as theirs.