While most expected that a major online conglomerate would likely acquire online streaming service Twitch in the next few months, most did not expect that conglomerate would be Amazon. In fact, prior rumors had strongly suggested that Google/YouTube was the site’s strongest suitor; even going so far as to say the deal was practically done.
So what happened? Why did this rumored Google deal fall through? Did the rumors have it all wrong?
As it turns out, Google was working on a deal with Twitch over the past month or so, but eventually the two parties could not come to an agreement. Specifically, Google was concerned about potential antitrust litigation that might arise from the acquisition, and as a result decided it best not to pursue Twitch even further. Google pulled out, and Amazon swooped in and bought the company for $970 million.
That isn’t to say Google didn’t try to strike a deal amidst antitrust concerns; they just couldn’t come up with a suitable “breakup deal” if the government found the union unlawful. Who would get what if the acquisition fell apart shortly after its announcement?
Obviously, those antitrust concerns stemmed from the fact that Google also happens to own YouTube, Twitch’s major competitor in the online streaming space. With both of those services wrapped up in a single company, Google would ostensibly have the gameplay streaming and Let’s Play market all cornered up. They might have also formed a pretty significant trust.
About a year ago, gamers might have seen a partnership between YouTube and Twitch as a good thing, but the recent copyright crackdowns by both services has drawn considerable concerns. Both sites have now taken strong stances against licensed music, even going so far as to block out whole sections of videos or even deleting them altogether.
In fact, most gamers seem to prefer Amazon as Twitch’s new home, given that the online retailer has a lot of ground to gain in the gaming space. It behooves Amazon not to tinker with Twitch in any way that might hurt its appeal to gamers.
Twitch CEO Emmett Shear has already assured users that not much will change in the short term, and even teased some potential tie-ins for the long term, but Amazon has yet to reveal their plans. In other words, we’ll have to wait and see whether Amazon is a better or worse suitor than Google.
Do you think that Google buying Twitch would have resulted in an antitrust suit? Is Amazon a better choice for Twitch ownership?