Yesterday's surprising news that
Amazon had acquired Twitch
led to some rather immediate and obvious questions: What could Amazon possibly want with Twitch, for one, and what happened to the
deal with Google
? As it turns out, Amazon sees very big things ahead for gaming, and Google was never quite as close to claiming the throne as we thought.
, Twitch CEO Emmett Shear made fairly conventional comments about "shared vision" and "culture," and said, "Amazon thinks about problems and solving those problems in the same way we do at Twitch. They think about how you can build things for customers, and how to do that in the long run." He also noted that as a fully-owned subsidiary, "I get to remain the CEO, we keep our office, we keep our culture, we keep our strategy," which is no doubt a big plus too.
But the more interesting comments came from Amazon Games Vice President Mike Frazzini, who explained how Amazon ended up in the Twitch sweepstakes in the first place. "If you look at Amazon fairly high-level, what you end up with is, we have a commerce business, and games are a very important part of the commerce business," he said.
"I think it's fairly safe to say at this point that on anything with a screen, games are the number one or two activity," he continued. "Obviously if we're going to be in the devices business, we have to be thinking hard about games. And at the center of that is the customer experience, which is what's so interesting about Twitch for us. Twitch has that same point of view. They think long term. They think a lot about invention."
As for Google,
says its efforts to buy out Twitter were scuttled by concerns about potential anti-trust issues arising from its ownership of YouTube. The two companies were reportedly unable to reach an agreement on a "breakup fee" if the acquisition couldn't be completed.
It's clear that Amazon is serious about moving into gaming in a very big way, although what it will ultimately do with Twitch is anybody's guess at this point. Luckily, Evan Lahti has some ideas about how to make the service better for PC gamers, which you can read