Sources with Variety report that YouTube is nearing a deal to buy Twitch, the popular game streaming startup, for $1 billion. The deal is said to be an all-cash offer and will close "imminently," according to Variety; The Wall Street Journal, however, has followed up with a report claiming that discussions are "early" and that "a deal isn't imminent." The move, if it succeeds, would effectively put one of the web's most highly trafficked sites firmly in Google's hands.
Details are currently scarce. However, for YouTube's part, the move makes sense. Twitch, launched in 2011, has since become a premier destination for video game live-streams, and has effectively turned titles as offbeat as Pokemon into spectator sports. It currently has more than 1 million unique users broadcasting on its platform every month, and, according to a recent DeepField study, ranks ahead of even Google in terms of broadband traffic during peak hours. Twitch functionality is built into both the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One game consoles.
While YouTube is otherwise the king of online video, it mostly missed the boat on livestreaming. Pulling Twitch into the fold would put all that content under one roof. However, Variety reports that YouTube is preparing for regulators to challenge the deal.
Spokespeople for both YouTube and Twitch declined to comment.
Update May 19th, 8:35PM: Updated to include a second report from The Wall Street Journal.