Report: Google to acquire Twitch.tv for more than $1 billion
With Apple buying Beats and AT&T buying DirecTV, this seems to be the month of the blockbuster acquisition deal. And it looks like Google wants in on the action too—according to a report fromVariety, the company is going to buy video game streaming site Twitch.tv for over $1 billion.
Google’s YouTube division is heading up the acquisition, and that makes sense. Twitch is best thought of as a live streaming, gaming-focused version of YouTube. The streamer loads up his or her favorite game, and the audience watches and participates via an integrated chat room. Twitch recently made headlines as the host of Twitch Plays Pokémon, a social experiment where over 100,000 people simultaneously played a single instance of Pokémon. And the site is so popular that direct streaming has even been integrated into the PS4 and Xbox One.
While YouTube is indisputably the largest pre-recorded video site on the Internet, Twitch is undoubtedly among the Web’s largest live-streaming video sites. Still, the scale between the two entities really isn’t comparable: Twitch has 45 million monthly users, YouTube has one billion. A deal like this is sure to draw the ire of regulators, and the report says YouTube is gearing up to jump through the necessary approval hoops to get the deal done.
The two video sites have a lot of similarities. While Twitch is mainly a live-streaming site, the streams are also archived and can be played-back later. Streamers can also “highlight” stream segments and cut them up into smaller videos, which makes it a direct competitor to YouTube. Also like YouTube, Twitch displays ads and pays out ad revenue to content creators. Some popular streamers even make a living off of nothing but ad revenue and donations from viewers.
Variety says the announcement is expected to be made “imminently.” Ars will continue to monitor the situation and update this post should any new details become available.
Update: The Wall Street Journal has chimed in saying that the Twitch/Google talks “are at an early stage, and a deal isn’t imminent.” It sounds like Google and Twitch are talking, but we’re getting conflicting reports about the timing.
Update 2:The Verge adds some more details, saying Twitch chose Google over Microsoft, and the two companies have agreed on the $1 billion price tag. The report states biggest detail Google and Twitch have to agree on is how independant Twitch will be from the rest of Google.
Night Trap scaring up an HD return
The Sega CD era brought us a number of infamously bad full-motion video titles, such as Slam City With Scottie Pippen, the Corey Haim-starrer Double Switch and, of course, the office favorite Make My Music Video Featuring Marky Mark.
But none could come close to the entertaining cheese level of Night Trap, a game where you protected scantily clad college hotties from a group of high tech vampires that use equipment to suck blood by setting off traps. (You know, because traps, in the night!) Well, it appears that experience is about to make an HD comeback. No, we’re not kidding.
James Riley, who owns the rights to the game after buying them back from Sega years ago, recently made an announcement on the Night Trap Facebook community page that Night Trap would make a return, and with some high-resolution rendering to boot.
“I appreciate your ongoing interest,” said Riley in the Facebook post. “But please understand I do plan to re-release Night Trap and have been talking with a number of interested parties to do so. However, the specific platform(s) have not been confirmed (including online) and I will let you know once we have a definite plan and release schedule.”
He continued, “Night Trap will come back, in better resolution and game play than before, we just want to be sure it’s the best strategy for all involved.”
It’ll be interesting to see the Dana Plato vehicle get an HD transfer, and how the gameplay will work by today’s standards. Still, if Marky Mark’s game can stand the test of time, clearly so can this one…
Microsoft’s Surface Pro 3 is designed to destroy the laptop
Microsoft has unveiled a new Surface Pro 3 device at a press event in New York City today. Like the previous Surface tablets it still includes a kickstand, but Surface chief Panos Panay says it’s designed to remove the conflict of buying a laptop or a tablet. The kickstand on the device is multi-stage, and the device is just 9.1mm thick. “This is the tablet than can replace your laptop,” claims Panay. Microsoft has moved to a 12-inch screen on the Surface Pro 3 with a 3:2 aspect ratio and HD display, but the new tablet also has thin bezels with a silver and black design. Microsoft will start accepting pre-orders on the Surface Pro 3 tomorrow starting at $799.
Along with the Surface Pro 3 being a lot thinner, it’s also a lot lighter than the previous models as it’s 800 grams in weight. The weight of the original Surface Pro tablets was a big drawback, and it appears Microsoft has really focused on removing the bulk this time around. Panay used Apple’s MacBook Air to compare the popular laptop with the new Surface Pro 3 on stage at Microsoft’s event in New York City today, noting the weight benefits and screen resolution improvements. Microsoft has also been working closely with Intel to ensure the Surface Pro 3 includes the latest Core i7 processors. The processor still requires a fan, but Microsoft has refined the chassis on the Surface Pro 3 so you no longer notice the fan ridge the company used on the Surface Pro and Surface Pro 2.
Perhaps the most important part of the Surface Pro 3 is the new kickstand and Type Cover combination. Panay once again talked up “lapability” at the Surface event today, a problem that hasn’t been fully addressed by the Surface Pro and Surface Pro 2 yet. The new kickstand now supports a “canvas mode” that places the Surface Pro 3 at a 150-degree angle, designed primarily for inking. The multiple kickstand angles might also help with using the device in your lap as a tablet or laptop; Microsoft has created a new Type Cover that magnetically seals itself to the screen to provide more sturdiness. The kickstand will support multiple positions, and the Type Cover adapts appropriately at an angle to balance the device out in your lap. It’s a small change, but one that might finally address the ability to use a Surface in your lap as a laptop. Microsoft has also added a larger trackpad to the Type Cover, a change that should help improve mouse input with the Surface Pro 3.
Geek This Week:
Aaron: Really enjoying Storium. Have six players and it’s ratcheted up quite a bit.
Trying to understand if Foursquare is even usable now that Swarm is here.
Newfound appreciation for Spotify after learning about Lindsey Stirling from Allen.
Gozer: Freespace app, Godzilla, Borderlands 2 for Vita
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