And it couldn’t be more right. Today’s confirmation of Amazon’s $970 million acquisition of the gaming industry’s heaviest live streaming hitter should qualm even the hardiest of trolls that decried such a purchase by YouTube. The latter suitor was in talks with Twitch earlier this year, but it looks like that didn’t pan out.
While more information should be forthcoming about Amazon’s new toy, there are some lingering questions.
Prime Membership: What perks should Prime users get with Twitch?
Once it was announced that Twitch’s purchase was all but final (dotting of Is and crossing of Ts and such), among the first questions I saw on Twitter were how Prime memberships would be integrated into Twitch’s premium subscription policies. Lest we forget, there are two major pay services to think about:
Twitch Turbo: At $8.99 a month, this grants access to all Twitch content, ridding users of advertising both displayed on page and during video content.
Partner Subscription Program: $4.99 a month gets you prime access to HD content for individual partner channels, which includes heavily trafficked eSports broadcasts
How would a Prime membership affect these costs? Would it replace them? Discount them? We’ll find out in time but it’s certainly something I’m sure Amazon will be quick to answer in the coming days. Twitch CEO Emmet Shear did comment on the company’s blog:
“We chose Amazon because they believe in our community, they share our values and long-term vision, and they want to help us get there faster. We’re keeping most everything the same: our office, our employees, our brand, and most importantly our independence. But with Amazon’s support we’ll have the resources to bring you an even better Twitch.”
I’ve highlighted the more poignant of statements which leads me to believe that partnership sub plans will likely stay put, but I really feel if Amazon is going to capitalize on its newfound gamership (lest we forget Amazon has been slowly building its own gaming studio), it’ll likely want to encourage Prime users to join Twitch users by discounting the Turbo plan if not include it completely in the annual membership fee. This will encourage people to join the Twitch community who could then stream Amazon Game Studios’ content, among other publisher content of course (more on that in a sec).
Lastly it should be mentioned that with YouTube out of the way, the possibility of non-partnered streamers being barred from placing donate buttons on their streams (which conflicts with YouTube’s nonprofit donation policy) so too does that restriction go off into that (not so)-good night. Again — if Shear’s comment is to be fully realized, business will carry on as usual in that regard.
Video on Demand Content and Filtering Services Will Remain With Twitch
Twitch’s content filtering system that scans uploaded videos for copyrighted content (namely music) will remain steadfast. This was likely a requirement by not just YouTube but Amazon and pretty much any big name that would have purchased Twitch. Because ANY company willing to buy Twitch for around $1 billion would be faced with music company legal departments just ITCHING to cash in on a big name. Twitch needs to protect itself, its new parent, and of course all its children who don’t like to play by the rules (kids these days, SMH).
But one thing that goes way with YouTube no longer in the picture was the Google’s VAST resources it dedicates to the storage of such media. Sure Twitch streamers can still transfer their broadcasted content to their YouTube accounts as they do now, but not having YouTube around means not having the all-in-one ability to stream and archive VODs.
Amazon’s Marketplace should see beautiful synergy (*shiver* — I hate that word) with Twitch channels
You come across an entertaining broadcaster playing a cool game…well, click on the game’s hyperlink and it will take you to the marketplace page on Amazon to buy said game. Easy peezy lemon squeezy.
So HEY publisher PR departments (and gaming-focused PR firms)! Guess what! Now you have an even BIGGER incentive to run your own Twitch channels to preview your own content. Because you’ll likely then give channel viewers a more direct way to purchase such content. Twitchazon’s combined forces now give you an amazing conversion opportunity with a vastly large potential consumer base. Couple this with your community teams working closely with influencers and well…
That’s a pretty big pie sitting in the window just ITCHING to be violated by Jason Biggs.
Amazon Game Studios will have free reign on streaming content on Twitch
So speaking of publishers streaming content to sell them a video game, Amazon’s brilliance in vying for Twitch really shines with this often overlooked division of the company: Amazon Game Studio.
You did KNOW Amazon was a game developer now, right? From the looks of some Twitter comments and gaming news sites’ comments, a lot of people didn’t.
Well, now that Amazon owns Twitch it will have direct and first access to a service that it could use to sell its own games and possibly force other publishers into retail agreements to give them the same access. It’s fucking genius. It’s like when Apple made iTunes and the forced music publishers into the similar “this is our design, you abide by it” mentality. Now I doubt that Amazon will regulate pricing as Apple does on iTunes, but even still, it’s now a precarious position to do so if it pleases. Twitch is the LARGEST user-based livestreaming service where marketing potential is VAST and the only reason why Twitch has grown so fast in the last three years is because of this fact. Broadcasters use it to market themselves as content creators, and publishers use it to push their titles — all in an everyone wins scenario, including its humble host, Twitch.
Now we amend that statement to read “everyone wins, but now Amazon wins just a little more.”
In the end, this acquisition pleases everyone. Broadcasters, gamers, viewers, publishers and most importantly, Twitch. Because as Shear points out, it was all about preserving the community. While I would have supported a Google/YouTube-backed Twitch just the same, Amazon does offer that preservation that could not be had with YouTube. It’s an entirely different community. That and gamer’s just really really hate Google now for some odd reason and likely would have abandoned Twitch taking viewers with them. Amazon taking the lead gives Twitch the backing it needed and viewers less vitriol to mull over. So, again…win-win.