Games By Aug. 26, 2014 10:30 am
Does an Amazon-powered mean everyone wins? | Games |

After weeks of speculation, bordering on outrage in some cases, we can all rest assured that Google is not going to be absorbing Twitch. Instead, we will all now embrace a world where the video game streaming service exists under the long shadow of Jeff Bezos’ Amazon. There’s a lot of questions out there regarding what will happen next, but even in worst case scenarios it seems like this deal is one that will be welcomed by most.

Amazon’s new foothold

While it is easy to joke around about this deal, especially when compared in scope to recent acquisitions in the tech world, Amazon buying Twitch for roughly the same amount of cash as Facebook buying Instagram is the biggest deal in Amazon’s history.

For Amazon this will be the first service in its arsenal that focuses on user-generated content, in this case to the tune of 45 million+ active users every month with major content deals across the gaming industry. By purchasing Twitch, Amazon now has access to an entire market of users who are also creators, which is a big deal.

Does an Amazon-powered mean everyone wins? | Games |

Amazon has invested an extraordinary amount of time and energy into the gaming industry already, but so far has not seen a tremendous amount of success. The gaming company that feeds content into Amazon’s Kindle and Fire products, combined with the unified gaming platform Amazon created to rank achievements and create a competitive atmosphere among players, is impressive but not widely used yet. Amazon wants in to the gaming ecosystem, and Twitch offers them data and marketing opportunities on a massive scale.

Twitch gets a Yacht-sized lifeboat

It’s easy to see where Twitch benefits in this deal. The company has been fighting a losing battle from day one to keep up with the sheer volume of users. Twitch handles everything in house thanks to the systems put in place by the parent company they eventually absorbed, but never had to deal with the volume Twitch is faced with on a daily basis.

Does an Amazon-powered mean everyone wins? | Games |

Not only does Twitch provide an enormous amount of user-created content for the cost of an occasional advertisement, but at any given moment something like Fish Plays Street Fighter could pick up media attention and send hundreds of thousands of new viewers to the site. Ask anyone who has been using Twitch for a while, and you’ll hear at least one story of how the video quality in a stream suddenly dropped from HD to pixelated nonsense as a feed got popular. It’s a difficult thing to predict and manage even for massive companies like Netflix, and Amazon offers a powerful solution to this problem.

Outside of the massive cash infusion, Amazon’s servers (Amazom Web Services) are built from the ground up to handle the kind of seemingly random bursts of users that Twitch faces every day. This is the kind of thing Amazon is great at, and as a result Twitch will dramatically improve in a relatively short time. It opens the doors to new features, new platforms, and the ability to implement both at scale with very little slowing them down. This time next year, Twitch users will look back and view these early days as the dark ages and laugh as all of their feeds stream at 1080p effortlessly.

Does an Amazon-powered mean everyone wins? | Games |

Speculation for the future

As nice as it would be to end things with that rosy feeling where everything is awesome, what happens next for Twitch is probably going to upset a few people. The overall feeling from those reporting on the Twitch deal is that Amazon was encouraging a certain amount of autonomy, but it seems more than likely Twitch features will start to seep into the next generation of Amazon’s products. The only question is whether or not these features will happen at the expense of Amazon’s competition.

There’s no denying the friction between Amazon and Google right now, and if this deal with Twitch really did happen immediately following a failure to come to terms with Google, it’s likely that won’t get better anytime soon. Amazon has a documented history of holding back on some of their products to spite Google, even at the cost of potential users. Amazon’s Prime Instant Video, for example, is still nowhere to be found on Android even though it is by far the most popular OS among their target demographic.

It’s not hard to imagine Amazon soon offering the ability to Twitch stream games being played on the next generation Kindle Fire or from the Amazon Fire TV, in much the same way that Nvidia has arranged through their Shield Tablet. It’s also not hard to imagine a situation where Amazon has a wireless streaming service that allows you to control Twitch on the Fire TV from your smartphone or tablet. What is difficult to imagine is Amazon making this feature available to Chromecast or Android users, even though third party solutions to do exactly that already.

Does an Amazon-powered mean everyone wins? | Games |

Yes, we all win

The best part about this deal is that those who compete with Twitch will absolutely have to step up their game in order to survive. This means we’ll likely see some actual forward momentum from YouTube’s live streaming system, as well as increased efforts from smaller services like HitBox. It means that the next year is going to be very entertaining for anyone interested in gaming as a content distribution platform, and it means concepts like pro gaming are going to become even more mainstream. In many ways, this is just the beginning.

Image Credit – Chris Rosenthal

Does an Amazon-powered mean everyone wins? | Games |


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