Rumours are bounding about this morning that online advertising giant Google is to purchase popular streaming website Twitch.tv for US$1 billion.
The purchase is being primarily directed by Google’s YouTube division. While YouTube has been a huge success in the online video space, it has failed to succeed in the livestreaming space that has made Twitch so popular. Combining the two seems like a logical step for Google’s most popular brand.
The deal is expected to be challenged by US government regulators, as the two sites, while focusing on different aspects of the same idea (online video), are similar enough that there could be issues with anticompetitive behaviour. The US Department of Justice will likely closely scrutinise any deal that’s made.
Twitch itself has grown in popularity, particularly in the past several months as social experiment Twitch Plays Pokemon took place on the site, and the XBox One and Playstation 4 both support direct streaming to the service. There has also been a rise in popular streamers, particularly with stream-friendly games such as Hearthstone, and many of these streamers can make a living solely on advertising revenue and donations through Twitch.
It remains to be seen just how Google would integrate Twitch into YouTube, and whether or not it would enforce YouTube’s requirement for a Google+ account to comment (though Google is rumoured to be moving away from Google+ as well).