Is YouTube planning its biggest buy ever? Reports surfaced Sunday that the Google-owned company is ready to shell out $1 billion for video game streaming service Twitch.
Twitch is perhaps best known as the platform gamers used to make their way through a single game of Pokemon earlier this year, with thousands of people all trying to control a single character. (Via YouTube / SwiftX10)
But Twitch has also become a kind of video game powerhouse in its own right. It boasts 45 million unique visitors a month, and is available as an app on the latest consoles.
So when Variety reported sources said a $1 billion deal was close, gaming writers seemed to think it was a great fit.
Kotaku called it a "savy investment" on YouTube's part, saying "It doesn't take long to envisage the potential pluses in such a deal."
And Ars Technica said the buy "makes sense. Twitch is best thought of as a live streaming, gaming-focused version of YouTube."
But Variety's report also includes a hint the acquisition isn't a done deal yet, saying YouTube is gearing up for a big regulatory challenge. "The company expects the Justice Department to take a hard look at whether buying Twitch raises anticompetitive issues in the online-video market."
And The Wall Street Journal's sources apparently told them something different, saying contrary to Variety's report that an announcement would be made soon, "The talks are at an early stage, and a deal isn't imminent."
Either way, the fact that the rumors were met with little surprise shows how video game streaming has come into its own.
Last year's "Leage of Legends" world championship drew 32 million viewers. That's the same size audience as the first round of the 2014 NFL draft.