Google in talks to buy video game streaming service Twitch

The Wall Street Journal reports that the deal is not imminent, while Variety says Google has agreed to pay over $1 billion

Google is planning to buy Twitch, a service that allows gamers to stream their game play.

The talks are at an early stage, though, according to the Wall Street Journal citing people familiar with the matter. Twitch has also considered selling a stake in the company instead, the report said.

Another report, in Variety, said Google's YouTube will pay over US$1 billion for Twitch and that the sale is a done deal, according to sources familiar with the matter.

Twitch is a streaming service that gamers can use to broadcast their game play, showing off their skills and teaching others how to play. The service has over one million active broadcasters per month and makes its money selling ads viewed by more than 45 million viewers per month, the company said in February. In September, it raised sold an undisclosed stake to investors for US$20 million.

Launched in June 2011, Twitch was the gaming branch of video streaming service Justin.tv. Twitch however outgrew Justin.tv, making the company's co-founders decide in February to start using Twitch Interactive as the umbrella name for their business.

Google is interested in Twitch because it could potentially give a boost to YouTube, which has its own live video streaming service for games, sports, music and more, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Twitch generates more live streaming video traffic than any other site online, outpacing YouTube Live, ESPN and NBC Sports according to Qwilt, a company that helps service providers to optimize their networks for the delivery of streaming video content.

A Google spokesman declined to comment on "rumors." Twitch did not immediately reply to a request for comment.

Loek is Amsterdam Correspondent and covers online privacy, intellectual property, open-source and online payment issues for the IDG News Service. Follow him on Twitter at @loekessers or email tips and comments to loek_essers@idg.com

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