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Twitch is an online live-streaming site where users can host and watch e-sports events and other video game-related feeds.
On March 19th, 2007, the streaming video website Justin.tv was launched by co-founders Justin Kan, Emmett Shear, Michael Seibel and Kyle Vogt based in San Francisco, California. The site was originally a single channel for Kan’s personal video feed but was relaunched that summer with more than 60 different channels.
On June 6th, 2011, Justin.tv launched a public beta for the website Twitch for video game-related feeds. In July, Twitch launched a “Partner Program,” allowing gamers to share revenue with Twitch off ads viewed on their respective live-streams. In September 2012, Twitch raised a $15 million investment from Bessemer Venture Partners to expand e-sports broadcasts. On October 31st, 2013, Twitch announced that live-streamers on the platform had raised more than $8 million for charity donation drives. On February 10th, 2014, Twitch.tv and Justin.tv were rebranded as Twitch Interactive.
Rumors of Google Acquisition
On May 18th, 2014, Variety reported that Google’s YouTube has reached an acquisition deal with the video game streaming service for an all-cash offer of $1 billion, citing unnamed “sources familiar” with the process. In the following hours, the unconfirmed report quickly spread across the tech news blogosphere and financial news sites, with the Wall Street Journal casting some doubts over the finalization of the deal and adding that the company may be exploring other channels of revenue that wouldn’t entail selling the company. As of afternoon on May 19th, neither companies have released any statement surrounding the rumor.
On August 5th, 2014, Justin.tv was closed by the company in order to divert resources to Twitch, further fueling rumors of an imminent acquisition. On August 25th, Twitch announced that the service had been acquired by Amazon for $970 million. In a blog post published on the site, CEO Emmett Shear thanked the Twitch community for the company’s success.
Dear Twitch Community,
It’s almost unbelievable that slightly more than 3 years ago, Twitch didn’t exist. The moment we launched, we knew we had stumbled across something special. But what followed surprised us as much as anyone else, and the impact it’s had on both the community and us has been truly profound.
Your talent, your passion, your dedication to gaming, your memes, your brilliance – these have made Twitch what it is today. Every day, we strive to live up to the standard set by you, the community. We want to create the very best place to share your gaming and life online, and that mission continues to guide us.
Together with you, we’ve found new ways of connecting developers and publishers with their fans. We’ve created a whole new kind of career that lets people make a living sharing their love of games. We’ve brought billions of hours of entertainment, laughter, joy and the occasional ragequit. I think we can all call that a pretty good start.
Today, I’m pleased to announce we’ve been acquired by Amazon. We chose Amazon because they believe in our community, they share our values and long-term vision, and they want to help us get there faster. We’re keeping most everything the same: our office, our employees, our brand, and most importantly our independence. But with Amazon’s support we’ll have the resources to bring you an even better Twitch.
I personally want to thank you, each and every member of the Twitch community, for what you’ve created. Thank you for putting your faith in us. Thank you for sticking with us through growing pains and stumbles. Thank you for bringing your very best to us and sharing it with the world. Thank you, from a group of gamers who never dreamed they’d get to help shape the face of the industry that we love so much.
It’s dangerous to go alone. On behalf of myself and everyone else at Twitch, thank you for coming with us.
Emmett Shear, CEO
The following day, Forbes published an article claiming sources revealed Google backed away from the deal due to concerns over antitrust issues that may have arisen due to the company’s ownership of YouTube.
EVE Online: Battle of Asakai
Twitch Plays Pokemon
Twitch Plays Pokemon was a live-streamed event that began on Twitch in February 2014 in which any member of the site can participate in a massively multiplayer online co-op version of Nintendo’s 1996 role-playing video game Pokémon Red by inputting various commands in chat. After 16 days, 7 hours, 45 minutes, and 30 seconds of continuous play, the game was beaten, having reached over 100,000 viewers at its peak. Several spin-off feeds were subsequently created for other games, including Pokémon Red and Tetris, The Legend of Zelda, Super Mario Bros, QWOP, Pacman and DOOM.
Fish Plays Pokemon
Fish Plays Pokemon is an ongoing live-stream event on Twitch in which a pet fish named Grayson Hopper assumes the role of Red, the protagonist of Pokemon Red/Blue, and the task of completing the game by swimming in a custom-designed tank sectioned into a 3×3 square grid and equipped with a motion sensor detector. Created by two college students, Catherine Moresco and Patrick Facheris,  for the HackNY summer fellowship program, the channel has gained more than 4.5 million views and over 60,000 likes in less than three weeks.
4chan Cup is a series of e-sport tournaments in which 16 teams representing various boards on 4chan compete against each others in the Japanese football video game Pro Evolution Soccer. Each tournament match is webcast in real-time on the video game streaming platform Twitch.
On June 5th, 2013, Tech Crunch reported that Twitch.tv was receiving more than 35 million unique visitors per month. On December 10th, Twitch announced they had gained over 100,000 new streamers using PlayStation 4 integration, bringing the total broadcasters to over 700,000. As of February 2014, Twitch has a Quantcast US ranking of 322.
FrankerZ is a dog face emoticon used to convey sarcasm or playfulness on Twitch and is sometimes spammed in forums and chat rooms during raids.
Raise Your Dongers
Raise your dongers is a catchphrase coined by the League of Legends (LoL) Twitch streamer Michael Santana, better known by his online handle Imaqtipie, that is associated with the champion character Heimerdinger. Although its precise meaning is unclear, the phrase has since been adopted by his fans on Twitch, along with its emoticon form “ヽ༼ຈل͜ຈ༽ﾉ raise your dongers ヽ༼ຈل͜ຈ༽ﾉ.”
Wall Street Journal – Google in Talks About Possible Acquisition of Twitch