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Amazon Makes A Big Move Into The World Of Online Gaming


NPR's Business News starts with a twitch. Amazon is spending nearly $1 billion to buy a video game streaming site called Twitch - news that surprised some analysts because of rumors that Google was the one trying to buy that site. As NPR's Laura Sydell reports, Twitch fits well into Amazon's growing interest in video gaming.

LAURA SYDELL, BYLINE: Twitch is filled with video gamers playing live against each other and with people narrating themselves as they play.


UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: All right, I'll still be on this time.

SYDELL: Many of the players on it have become online celebrities with millions of followers who like to watch the best players - or the most entertaining. Twitch has some 55 million unique visitors a month, and it's the fourth-largest source of Internet traffic. Amazon has been actively working to move into the game market. It's beefed up the number of programmers and its game studios in Southern California and Seattle. Gartner analyst Brian Blau says with Twitch, Amazon could start competing with the prominence of Microsoft and Sony in the game space.

BRIAN BLAU: Access to the Twitch audience in the form that it is today is pretty unique. These are core gamers that are playing on PC or Xbox or PlayStation consoles mainly. And assembling that audience in one place is something that really hasn't been done before.

SYDELL: The uniqueness of Twitch was noted by Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos. In a statement, Bezos also said that broadcasting and watching game play is a global phenomenon. Amazon has also been trying to get into the content business with TV productions and self-published books. But among young people gaming is growing fast. Laura Sydell, NPR News. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Laura Sydell fell in love with the intimate storytelling qualities of radio, which combined her passion for theatre and writing with her addiction to news. Over her career she has covered politics, arts, media, religion, and entrepreneurship. Currently Sydell is the Digital Culture Correspondent for NPR's All Things Considered, Morning Edition, Weekend Edition, and NPR.org.