Twitch.tv has indeed been sold—but not to the company we expected. Last month, VentureBeat reported that Google was proceeding with a $1-billion purchase of the popular video streaming site. The price turned out to be correct, but as it turns out, the buyer is Amazon. The e-tail giant is shelling out $970 million in a deal that's already been approved by Twitch's shareholders.
In a press release announcing the acquisition, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos hinted that gaming was part of the motivation behind the move. "Like Twitch," he said, "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."
Twitch CEO Emmet Shear reiterated the promise that Amazon's backing will accelerate the creation of "tools and services" for the community. He also added that the buyout will help the streaming site reach "even more people around the world."
In just a few years, Twitch.tv has become the most popular game streaming site on the web. Over 55 million unique visitors watched more than 15 billion minutes of footage last month alone. Those are impressive numbers on their own, but to be fair, they pale in comparison to the big dog of online video. YouTube serves about six billion hours a month to an audience of over a billion viewers. Maybe that's why Google balked at the purchase.