SAN FRANCISCO – When the rumor mill heated up about a potential acquisition of online video game streaming website Twitch, Google was the most-discussed suitor. But according to company CEO Emmett Shear, Amazon presented a key advantage with its $970 million cash offer: The ability to remain independent.
“We weren’t going to be subsumed, Twitch was still going to be a strong, independent brand,” he said.
Shear pointed to Amazon’s past acquisitions of companies like Zappos and IMDB as examples of its willingness to give founders the ability to run their own companies without too much interference.
Already, the two companies are somewhat tied together. Streamers with large followings are often looking for a good way to boost their income beyond just running advertisements on their Twitch channel, so they turn to other sources of income like Amazon’s affiliate program. Shear said that streamers have already asked Twitch to provide a deeper integration with Amazon’s affiliate links.
What’s more, he also said that people who are concerned about Twitch turning into a native advertising platform for Amazon shouldn’t be so concerned, in part because Twitch already serves that purpose.
“Our entire website in some sense is a native advertising platform for video games,” he said.
Shear said that his company sees a future filled with growth, as more consumers pick up next-generation consoles that can stream directly to Twitch. In addition, he said that the company has started to see more people streaming mobile games like “Clash of Clans,” and Shear said that he also foresees mobile devices making up an even greater number of the devices people use to stream to Twitch.
“Anywhere you play video games and have a video gaming experience, we want to share that,” he said.