Video-game streaming: A new media monolith

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Video-game streaming


Why is Amazon paying $970m for Twitch, a video-game streaming startup?

VIDEO GAMES were once thought to be the preserve of certain types of people, playing alone in dimly-lit rooms. But for the players of “Dota 2”, a multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) video game, who gathered in Seattle, Washington in mid-July, the experience was altogether different. They were there for “The International”, an annual tournament with a prize pot of nearly $11m. In addition to the 10,000 daily visitors who watched the games in person, up to 20m viewers watched the competition on Twitch, a video-games streaming website.
Surprising as it may seem to those not part of this select world, Amazon said on August 25th that it would pay around $970m in cash for this Twitch, whose main purpose is to let youngsters watch each other playing games. The reason for the internet-retailing giant’s interest is that the big audiences Twitch is gathering are turning it into a significant force in online media.

The premise of Twitch is simple: viewers go to the website and are presented …

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