Google Buys Streaming Site Twitch for $1 Billion

It was rumored back in March that Twitch, the popular game streaming website, would be bought out by YouTube, but it looks like the deal finally went public on Friday. Venture Beat reports that Google officially bought Twitch for a cool $1 billion. While neither Twitch nor Google have commented — specifics about this merger are scant as of this writing — it’s no surprise the site that brings in 50 million views a month had such a large price tag.

It’s hard to put a price on the value of internet streaming and the rise of competitive online gaming. Relatively a new development, online streams and competitions draw in millions of viewers daily with global competitions that take place live in arenas and offer million dollar cash prizes (Not to mention the possibility for advertisers). Twitch is probably worth more than a billion dollars, especially if you consider its enormous growth and potential. But reports claim that Twitch is pleased with the merger, as many investors are seeing a return past their wildest dreams.

Twitch currently has over 1 million active members that stream daily on the site. Since its creation in 2011, Twitch has moved from 3 million active users per month to over 50 million. The average viewer watches over 100 minutes of streams a day, and over 50 percent spend 20 hours or more a week watching videos. Twitch, founded by Justin Kan and Emmett Shear, was one of the first to host livestreams and real-time videos on the web back in 2011.

Though Google may be the one signing the check, Twitch will primarily be run by YouTube, also owned by Google. YouTube, which already supports live streams, will use Twitch to offer more livestream entertainment in a broader spectrum of categories past gaming.

“The way Twitch has built and executed this service has been flawless,” said Dan Rayburn of Streaming Media. “This is going to let them take the next step forward.” Many fans of Twitch also worry that the deal will change what content will be allowed on the site. However, fans can relax, as most game publishers have already signed a deal with Twitch allowing their gameplay to continue being streamed.

“I can say that Sony, EA, 2K, Nintendo, Microsoft — all the major players in gaming – have their own channels which they got a lot of use out of during E3. So they’re not expecting any issues on the licensing front.”

While there’s still more to be announced from this important merger, it’s safe to say this is only the beginning of Twitch and online streaming as we know it.

[Image via Mashable]