Provides easy access to game purchases
By James DeRuvo (doddleNEWS)
As the news broke yesterday that Amazon was buying Twitch, it seemed a bit out of the ordinary. Amazon is an e-commerce portal that dabbles in streaming content. And with Amazon Prime expanding beyond streaming rentals to original programming, could their buying of Twitch point to another layer of that initiative? Or is it something more? And will it remain free to gamers who love to both watch and play their favorite games?
To understand why Amazon would pay for a website such as this, you have to accept one fact: People like watching other people play video games. This consistently baffles many non-gamers, but it’s true. – Bloomberg Businessweek
The first thing you have to wonder is that after paying nearly a billion dollars for it, will Amazon leave Twitch alone. I’m guessing that at the very least, they will provide a way for gamers to make purchases while they watch their favorite game play. The patented one-touch capability could make it really easy get a game that you are watching first. Think of it as a vicarious try before you buy.
With Amazon being a top digital provider of games, and with expanding into gaming with not only the Fire TV but also their new Amazon Game Studios, and since they recently also bought game developer Double Helix (that’s a lot of “ands”), it looks like Amazon is really moving into original gaming content much like they did for video streaming.
“Their investment in Twitch would totally eclipse everything they’ve done with gaming…” – Brian Blau, Analyst Gartner
So where can they go with Twitch, other than using it as a game purchase portal? Well, that alone may be enough. But it can conceivably drive users to buy Fire TV, since they will no doubt put a Twitch channel on the streaming box, and now they have content control. They could also tie in their mobile devices, like the Fire tablet and Fire phone, with apps that provide streaming game content. And they can trangulate all that to provide a kind of beta test for the games coming out of Amazon Gaming Studios.
Then, they could even make it another feature that adds value to Amazon Prime. And that’s what worries me. Twitch is free right now. And if Amazon puts it behind the Prime pay wall, that could really anger avid fans who love to watch gaming. Especially considering the social aspect of Twitch, which Amazon has also shared with their original content in what many now call the “second screen experience.” That is, people tweeting comments, chatting in portal, etc. Gaming has become a virtual social experience and Twitch is all apart of that. And for Amazon to position itself with this purchase, it is going to make them a major enough player in the video gaming industry to make developers, fans, and the media sit up and take notice.
But the best reason of all might be that Amazon got what Google was afraid to get. Even though Google was willing to buy Twitch for over $1 billion, anti-trust laws may have come into play as Google already has their own streaming portals with YouTube and Google+. Federal watchdogs could’ve easily said no to the buy, saying that Google would’ve essentially built a streaming monopoly, and for the search giant, that may have forced them to give up. And Amazon jumped in and wrote a check really fast before Google changed its mind.