E-sports could be set for a significant move into the mainstream following the news that a major online gaming channel has been acquired by Amazon.
Twitch, formerly known as Twitch.tv, has confirmed that it has been acquired by the online shopping giant for $970m (£585m) in an all-cash deal.
The site, which allows users to upload video clips of their gaming exploits, and recently gained attention for events including two fish playing the classic game Street Fighter, and a crowd-sourced game of Pokémon, currently has over 55m monthly subscribers.
"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," company CEO Emmett Shear wrote.
"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."
The deal is another move by Amazon as it looks to explore new areas of business. The company has gained many plaudits from the success of its in-house television programming arm, which has produced the likes of critically-acclaimed House Of Cards.
"Broadcasting and watching gameplay is a global phenomenon and Twitch has built a platform that brings together tens of millions of people who watch billions of minutes of games each month," Amazon chief executive Jeff Bezos said in a statement.
"We look forward to learning from them and helping them move even faster to build new services for the gaming community," he added.
Prior to Amazon's move, it had been widely expected that Google would acquire Twitch as part of efforts to expand its YouTube service. As it is, Amazon may instead look to integrate Twitch, formed in 2011, into its existing Amazon Prime Instant Video service, which already allows subscribers to upload and share video clips.
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