Variety reported a rumour that Google is going to acquire the internet’s favourite streaming service, Twitch, last night. A rumour that has been confirmed this morning by The Verge. The internet is seething with positivity, negativity, indifference and downright hatred. Google’s latest app appears to be a grenade launcher and it’s being aimed directly at gamers’ dreams….Blah, blah, blah.
But let’s take a step back and look at this pit of rumour and speculation with some good ol’ fashioned common sense. What EXACTLY will happen now that the acquisition of Twitch by Google (through YouTube) is all but confirmed? How will this change the nature of Twitch and how it functions? What about those pesky copyright laws? Has the internet been ruined?
Breathe easy, friends. This is a simple breakdown of What Happens Next:
Google VS. The U.S. Bureau of Competition
The biggest inhibitor of American-based businesses like Google and Twitch is U.S. Antitrust law.
What this basically means is that America hates the idea of there being just one enormous company that provides everything in a given sector. Why? Because a competing business is compelled to give their customers the best service they possibly can; if they don’t, their customers go to rival companies for services. Quality of service is therefore of paramount importance. Once you take away the element of competition, you pretty much have one company dictating how things will be run in an entire sector. Prices to use services can be introduced or inflated, customer service can become less and less of a priority – and nobody can do a damn thing about it.
If you need a gaming comparison, take a moment to think what FPS games would be like if they were only made by EA or Activision.
Antitrust law exists in the U.S. to prevent giant corporate bodies taking over entire sectors and (theoretically) to promote a healthy, competitive market.
YouTube has over a billion users every month, while Twitch has over 45million. It’s easy to say that YouTube is huge compared to Twitch, but here’s the thing: YouTube’s streaming service for video is (putting it simply) rubbish. Twitch has attracted users based on its streaming service, which is improving gradually as time goes on, and users can cut their streaming sessions up into smaller videos. This puts it in direct competition with YouTube.
The hush-hush nature of the talks going on between Google and Twitch (which, at the time of writing, are not finalised) suggests that a strategy to counter any action made by the U.S. Bureau of Competition is a high priority. There almost certainly will be court proceedings to wade through over a business acquisition of this size. It’s even possible that Google’s acquisition of Twitch could be blocked.