Reports of YouTube buying Twitch sent message boards and Twitter in a frenzy yesterday. At one point, ‘RIPTwitch’ was trending on Twitter. A bit of an over reaction from Twitch fans who started to think of all the woes a deal with Google could mean. Google+ integration into Twitch chat? It could stand to be cleaned up a bit.
Reports today say that YouTube, which is owned by Google, wasn’t the only one interested in Twitch. The Verge is reporting that Microsoft and other unnamed companies made “serious” bids for the streaming service.
In the end, Twitch opted with YouTube. One reason is that Twitch needs better infrastructure to handle the massive amounts of traffic it receives. In recent months, Twitch has generated more streaming traffic than HBO Go. Huge growth for a company that launched in 2011. A report in February showed it ranked fourth in peak internet traffic in the U.S. Beating out huge companies including Facebook and Hulu.
The Google buyout of Twitch isn’t a done deal yet. It will face the same hurdles that the Comcast/Time Warner and AT&T/DirecTV deals are facing. Anti-trust. Regulators could deem the acquisition as anti-competitive.
Talks between Twitch and Google are reportedly still going on. The money amount is final, but how independent Twitch remains is still be worked through. Recent acquisitions by tech giants have left the acquired mostly independent. Take Oculus for example. They were bought by Facebook, but will run independently. You won’t see a Facebook logo slapped on an Oculus Rift anytime soon. The same has been true for apps in the tech space.
It stands to reason Twitch will run independently, at least for the immediate future. You won’t see instant Google+ integration or massive site redesigns right after the deal is closed. Will they come later? They may. But, Google didn’t spend $1 billion so they can alienate Twitch’s user base.