Report: Google to buy San Francisco-based Twitch for $1 billion

The Internet is ablaze over rumors that Google is about to pay $1 billion for a Bay Area company that streams live video of people playing video games.

Video games have always been social. "Back in the 80s when people would sit around playing their Atari and Coleco Systems, there was always somebody watching," Twitch spokesperson Chase said.

But now, millions of people are watching as players stream their games live on a website called Twitch.

"In the back of my mind, I'm always thinking, wouldn't you rather play video games than watch someone else play a video game? But it has become really huge," GamesBeat Editor-In-Chief Dan Hsu said.

Hsu says Twitch accounts for well over one percent of the Internet's total traffic behind only Apple, Netflix and Google.

"They're gonna really take control of the entire video market because now they control the prerecorded market with YouTube, they control the live streaming, at least the biggest live streaming site with Twitch TV," Hsu said.

San Francisco-based Twitch has seen explosive growth since the release of the PlayStation 4 and the xBox One. Those two consoles have support for streaming to Twitch built right in.

"We basically took away all the complexity and made it turnkey service, so now people can broadcast with just a click of a button," Chase said.

And with a few more clicks, just like YouTube, they can open it up to advertisers.

"Random kids now are making, you know, 50, 60, 70 thousand dollars a year monetizing video of their gameplay," Hsu said.

Twitch points out it's not just about watching. Viewers chat with the players and the players chat back.

"You're interacting with them. It really is the first successful example of social TV," Chase said.

Now with a million different streams going at any given time, Twitch is growing as a website and as a company hiring more people every day.

They say it's an exciting time to work there. But on the most exciting rumor of all, is the $1 billion offer from Google.
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