Amazon’s recent purchase of the online video game video streaming website Twitch signals a statement of intent from the company that they intend to diversify further following the purchase of LoveFilm and its amalgamation into its Amazon Prime service. The purchase, which is rumored to have cost the online shopping giant $970 million, demonstrates just how important computer games and the people that play them are to the current cultural landscape. Gaming is now one of the most popular entertainment mediums in the world, with Gartner claiming that the medium was projected to gross more than $93 billion towards the end of last year.
Further growth is anticipated for the market, which makes Amazon’s purchase of Twitch all the more timely. The company now has access to 55 million individual users, all of whom are gaming enthusiasts. They may come to the site to live stream the game that they are currently playing, or to share their opinions with a wider audience, but it is anticipated that Amazon will look to capitalize on this enormous potential marketplace to claim a return on its huge investment.
A search for the term “computer games” in Amazon’s online shopping website currently returns almost 400,000 results, demonstrating that the company has plenty of vested interest in the purchase and could potentially use it to directly market computer games available on its main website to users of Twitch based upon the statistics they garner from the website.
Additionally, the company may also be able to follow trends in the cultural landscape of the gaming world and adapt their other marketing campaigns accordingly. It is not too much of a stretch to envision how statistics from the site could be used to determine what genres its 55 million users are currently interested in, allowing for marketing of related products, such as books and films.
It is a trend that is becoming ever more common in the entertainment industry as a whole. Computer games are an increasingly popular source material for other entertainment media and the popularity of films such as the Silent Hill series in addition to the continued clamoring for a film based around the events of Microsoft’s Halo series are testament to just how far computer games have come in society and how capable they are of informing popular opinion.
Accordingly, Amazon has now positioned itself to truly take advantage of what gamers want thanks to a service that provides a live demonstration of exactly what its members are doing at that particular moment in time. Additionally, should the company follow the Google model and what that company did upon acquiring YouTube, simple advertisements before allowing a user to view a streaming video could see the company massively increase its ad revenue. The average user of the site spends more than 100 minutes per day watching streams, providing ample opportunity for Amazon. It is clear the gaming is affecting the cultural landscape, and Amazon’s purchase of Twitch is just the beginning. Monetizing Twitch will see Amazon walking a tightrope and perhaps coming up against some resistance. However, it is clearly a risk the company is willing to take.
By: Rebecca Savastio