Amazon.com Inc. is buying video service Twitch Interactive Inc. for more than $1 billion, adding an online gathering place for video gamers, people with knowledge of the plans said.
Amazon moved in to buy Twitch after the startup’s deal with Google Inc. fell through, said the people, who asked not to be be identified because the talks are private. An announcement for an acquisition for about $1.1 billion could be made as soon today, one person said.
With Twitch, Amazon would gain an online forum of 45 million monthly active users, where people discuss games or watch other gamers as they play. The deal highlights the stepped up rivalry between Amazon and Google. In addition to battling for customers watching an increasing amount of video through the Internet, the two companies also are competing for business in online data storage and Internet advertising.
The deal was first reported by technology-news website The Information. Craig Berman, a spokesman for Seattle-based Amazon, didn’t return a call seeking comment. A representative for San Francisco-based Twitch didn’t respond to a request for comment.
Twitch is available on Sony Corp.’s PlayStation 4 and Microsoft Corp.’s Xbox One game consoles.
Google and Twitch were in talks earlier this year on a transaction that could value Twitch at about $1 billion, a person familiar with discussions said in May.
The deal shows the increased interest in platforms for hosting online video. Walt Disney Co.’s recent agreement to purchase Maker Studios for as much as $950 million has set off a scramble among well-capitalized companies to invest in or acquire online video companies that have a large viewer base.
Twitch, started about seven years ago as Justin.tv, has a highly engaged audience of people who watch others play video games. In February, 1 million people shared videos via Twitch. The company raised $20 million from investors last year.