Amazon shocked the world by winning the bid for Twitch.tv at the listed sum of 950 million dollars. In a letter provided by the CEO of Twitch on their website, a particular note appears in the form of “We chose Amazon because they believei n our community, they share our values and long-term vision, and they want to help us get there faster.”
The word to note is “chose” Amazon, no doubt implying that multiple bidders were involved including the commonly referenced Google. It’s surprising Amazon won the bid of course, but with some reflection it wasn’t all that shocking. Amazon is a company that is expanding itself from its roots as an internet marketplace into gadgets and technology which is seen constantly with tablets and even phones. Amazon found a niche first with the Amazon Kindle and has expanded itself slowly since its release in 2007 to include the Kindle Fire and the newly released Amazon Fire phone.
In the realm of video games specifically, Amazon formed a studio not all that long ago simply called “Amazon Games” and has shown an interest in branching out into software development. Sticking mostly with mobile games so far, the acquisition of Twitch continues to show their urge to make themselves a larger player in the game industry. Already they have found themselves butting heads with Steam as a game marketplace and even offering games of their own, having a service like Twitch not only offers them not only an uncontested service in video game streaming but also a massive flow of people interested in video games. On top of not only a PC fanbase, there is also the deals Twitch struck with Sony and Microsoft to provide their service on each console, effectively making Amazon an omnipresent force in the gaming world with little effort.
Google could of course use Youtube as a streaming service but has shown very little interest thus far to do so, and Steam doesn’t need to change even though Amazon continues to offer similarly amazing deals on games. What Amazon has shown is a very aggressive mentality in getting themselves to the forefront of the industry while not being comically evil at the same time. Amazon, for lack of a better word: simply exists. They are capable of coexisting with Steam and Youtube, the only thing Amazon lacks to make them a truly driving force in the industry is power from name alone. Twitch gives them quite a bit, being the only real provider of video game streaming, but it won’t be enough if Amazon expects to be the go-to place for everything video games related.
The pipedream being floated around is “will Amazon throw their hat into the console market?” In the form of a platform itself, no. If any company can do it, Amazon has the funds to market and develop one, but consoles themselves are a money vacuum unless sales are phenomenal, which likely wouldn’t happen. In a way Amazon has already become a part of the console market as the owners of Twitch, and it certainly is an interesting position to be in. All one can do is speculate with what Amazon plans to do, but keep an eye out as something unexpected could happen at any moment.