The lights are on
Following today’s news that Amazon will acquire game streaming site Twitch, company CEO Emmett Shear held a town hall event to address questions. He was joined by Amazon vice president of games Mike Frazzini to discuss the deal.
Shear will continue as CEO of Twitch, which will be a wholly owned subsidiary of Amazon. According to Shear, Amazon will “help Twitch do what we’re doing today, only faster. Twitch and Amazon have a very similar view of the world. From our point of view, very little changes.”
“We’re really excited about working with Emmett and the team,” Frazzini said. “Watching other people play has always been part of the gaming lifestyle. Now you have Twitch and the Twitch experience.”
Shear reiterated multiple times that the “biggest deal” for him is that he gets to keep working for Twitch. He also mentioned access to Amazon’s relationships and infrastructure as reasons the deal is good for Twitch.
“We’ll be improving quality of service,” Shear says. “It’s a huge, valuable part of this deal.”
Twitch director of community and education Marcus Graham, who moderated the town hall, asked the pair about recent changes to the Twitch platform and whether the Amazon deal motivated them. “In the case of the audio recognition change, no,” Shear says. “Amazon was surprised by that. We might have made some mistakes on release, but it was something that had to be done for the good of the community and the long term health of the platform. Amazon didn’t even know of that.”
One concern that Graham inquired about was fear of change in the relationship between Twitch and YouTube. “We’re still really excited about those tools,” Shear says. “We never build things or release things, because we think it’s going to drive a deal.”
Shear and Frazzini reiterated their interest in supporting and growing eSports coverage. The pair also reinforced that this is just the first step in the deal. Nothing changes in the short term. However, Shear says that there may be tie-ins to Amazon’s affiliate program for Twitch Partners.
According to Graham, the most popular question asked was how Twitch services will integrate with Amazon’s Prime service. Prime offers flat-rate shipping, a select catalog of streaming video footage, and music. Shear and Frazzini say that those types of partnerships will be explored down the road.
Our TakeIt’s crucial to understand that the announcement of this deal is only the first step. The acquisition will close later this year, and after that, we’ll likely start to see services start to meld a bit.
I find it very interesting that Twitch’s sudden (and late) concern about copyright with the closure of Justin.tv and the implementation of audio monitoring is reportedly not related to an acquisition. I’m skeptical to say the least.
Whether this ends up being good for users or not is something only time will tell. Remember, if you care about the future of the service, stay vocal. Your voice is more important now than ever before.
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