Sources close to both entities confirmed with Variety that Google owned Youtube is working out a 1 bilion USD deal to acquire Twitch, a popular gaming streaming platform.
Twitch lets gamers broadcast their games either live or recorde to thousands of viewers. The three year old startup caters to over 45 million monthly users and was one of the first site to host user-generated live streamed video. Like Youtube, Twitch insert ads into streams and offers revenue sharing partnership with broadcasters. In 2013, 58% of Twitch viewers watched 20 hours a week or more and peak primetime viewership averages at 540,000, beating many mainstream cable networks.
What are people watching that makes Twitch so popular? E-sports which is competitive gaming like large scale Call of Duty tournaments, Minecraft building sessions, speed runs where gamers beat a game in record setting times and creative experiments like Twitch Plays Pokémon where more than 10,000 people united to play a single game of Pokémon.
So what would change if Youtube - and by extension Google - owned Twitch? I expect an integration of Google + much like we've seen with Youtube. At the very least, your Google login that is already valid for all Google platforms like Youtube and Gmail will eventually work with Twitch. I also expect tighter copyright rules and regulations. Youtube is known to handle copyright infringement claims by siding with the party filing the complaint without investigation. Videos and sometimes whole channels are taken down and content creators can only file an appeal once the disputed material is offline. Considering that streaming a video game means working with copyrighted material (ie. the game itself), this kind of "act now and ask questions later" policy might hurt the Twitch community.
Again, this is just all speculations as the deal itself hasn't gone through yet. We'll have more news for you as this story develops further, so stay tuned!