NEW YORK–Amazon is hoping to become the ESPN of video games.The e-commerce giant is buying streaming platform Twitch Interactive for $970 million in cash as it seeks to take part in video gaming's growth as an online spectator sport.Twitch is a multi-channel online network built for a generation of people who not only enjoy playing video games, but find it entertaining to watch others who might impart tricks and tips for excelling at their favourite games.
Amazon's purchase is an acknowledgment that gameplay video feeds are increasingly lucrative. Twitch had 55 million unique visitors in July, up from 20 million in 2012. Most visited the Twitch.tv Web site to watch other people play live or recorded games–competitions interspersed with advertising.Digital video advertising in the US is expected to reach US$5.96 billion this year, according to eMarketer, up 41.9 per cent from 2013.
The deal is the latest example of Amazon expanding into new commercial arenas.