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Amazon.com enters into the world of online gaming

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MUMBAI: E-commerce giant Amazon.com bought Twitch Interactive, a popular Internet video channel for broadcasting and watching, people play videogames, for about $970 million in cash.

The move, announced by the two companies is the largest deal in Amazon's 20-year history and will help the US e-commerce company vie with Apple and Google in the fast-growing world of online gaming, which accounts for more than 75 per cent of all mobile app sales.

Talking about the acquisition, Amazon.com’s founder and CEO Jeff Bezos said, “Broadcasting and watching gameplay is a global phenomenon and Twitch has built a platform that brings together tens of millions of people who watch billions of minutes of games each month – from The International, to breaking the world record for Mario, to gaming conferences like E3. And, amazingly, Twitch is only three years old.

“Like Twitch, we obsess over customers and like to think differently, and we look forward to learning from them and helping them move even faster to build new services for the gaming community,” he added.

Twitch is a multi-channel online platform for 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 favorite games. In July, more than 55 million unique visitors viewed more than 15 billion minutes of content on Twitch produced by more than 1 million broadcasters, including individual gamers, pro players, publishers, developers, media outlets, conventions and stadium-filling e-sports organisations.

“Amazon and Twitch optimise for our customers first and we are both believers in the future of gaming,” said Twitch CEO Emmett Shear. “Being part of Amazon will let us do even more for our community. We will be able to create tools and services faster than we could have independently. This change will mean great things for our community and will let us bring Twitch to even more people around the world.”

Twitch will help Amazon accelerate a push into web video that is brought it into competition with Netflix and Google's YouTube. Twitch seized on the popularity of games like League of Legends and Minecraft, developing tools to let players broadcast their game sessions to an audience of more than 55 million users and generating revenue from advertising and subscriptions.

According to media reports, Google also held talks about potentially acquiring Twitch as early as May.

The deal, expected to close in the second half of the year, is an unusual step for Amazon, which tends to build from within or make smaller acquisitions.

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