Amazon Purchases Esports Broadcast Site Twitch.tv For a Record $970 Million

Above: Jeff Bezos now effectively owns the site that brought us "Fish Plays Pokémon."

Amazon is the new owner of Esports web broadcasting site Twitch.tv. The online commerce mega-giant spent a record $970 million on the acquisition, the largest in its history.

For those who are wondering what Twitch.tv is, the site is to video games what ESPN is to sports. In fact, it often outpaces ESPN—2012's video stream of the all-star match for League of Legends had 18 million unique viewers, outstripping the MLB World Series that was being broadcast at the same time.

The social site also broadcasts oddball streams, like a live cam of somebody's pet fish playing the original Pokémon game, which in turn was based on a Twitch stream called "Twitch Plays Pokémon," a sort of live social experiment where thousands of online users attempt to play the same game of Pokémon at once.

"Broadcasting and watching gameplay is a global phenomenon," Bezos said in a statement, "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."

Twitch CEO Emmett Shear wrote a thank you to users today and outlined why he's excited about the merger:

"We chose Amazon because they believe in our community, they share our values and long-term vision, and they want to help us get there faster. We’re keeping most everything the same: our office, our employees, our brand, and most importantly our independence. But with Amazon’s support we’ll have the resources to bring you an even better Twitch."

 
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