YouTube Buys Twitch? Google Site Reportedly Seeking $1 Billion Purchase Of Video Game Streaming Service

By Matthew Buzzi , Updated May 19, 2014 12:00 PM EDT
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In an industry where huge acquisitions seem to be happening every day, the latest rumored buyout is causing quite a stir. Google's YouTube is reportedly seeking to purchase live game-streaming service Twitch for $1 billion.

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The report came from Variety yesterday evening, citing sources supposedly familiar with the agreement. The publication claimed the deal is already agreed and that an announcement is imminent, which would make it YouTube's largest acquisition ever.

There does not seem to be unanimous agreement with Variety's sources, however. Though a deal is reportedly in talks, the Wall Street Journal cites sources who say that discussions between YouTube and Twitch are only at an early stage. They don't disagree that talks are ongoing, but stress that a deal if hardly "imminent", if it does end up happening.

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If a deal does become official, the exact consequences are unclear. From Twitch's perspective, it would definitely help the streaming service grow. YouTube obviously has a strong video backbone, an area that's difficult to scale for a smaller company, and the support of Google. The service would probably remain on Twitch's standalone site, rather than migrate streaming videos to YouTube, though this is a possibility.

Which leads to the other side of the response--negative fan reaction. Enthusiasts are generally wary when bigger companies want to snatch up smaller successes (like the overwhelmingly negative reaction to Facebook buying Oculus), and there are those worried about Google's involvement. Forcing Google Plus onto YouTube comments did not go well, and there is fear that something similar could happen for YouTube chat, even if most are only joking for now.

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