Amazon to buy live-stream gaming site Twitch ($970 million)

Published on August 25, 2014, by

Amazon, in its efforts to increase its video-streaming offerings, plans to buy live-streaming video game site Twitch for more than $1 billion, according to media reports published Monday.

The companies could announce the deal as early as Monday, unnamed sources told The Wall Street Journal.

Amazon and Twitch did not immediately respond to requests for comment. The news was first reported by The Information.

If true, the deal would help Amazon expand its video-streaming service, as it pits its fledgling Amazon Prime Instant Video streaming service against streaming giant Netflix. The Internet retailer has made it clear that it is committed to growing its video offerings, including the development of original content.

Twitch is a video platform that streams content geared toward gamers, including live gaming footage, commentary, and online shows. While Twitch did not comment on the reported deal, the company said Monday it counts more than 1.1 million unique broadcasters per month, up from 600,000 in November last last year. Their videos are reaching more than 55 million gamers, up from 45 million before. On average, Twitch said, users watch 106 minutes per day.

Gaming is not an area where Amazon has made a lot of progress. Although it launched its Amazon Game Studios two years ago, it has sparse offerings. But, the retailer clearly wants a piece of the video game market. When it unveiled its media-streaming device Fire TV in April, it also rolled out an optional controller for video game play.

Twitch, launched in June 2011 by co-founders Justin Kan and Emmett Shear, made headlines this year for the live streams of a crowdsourced game of Pokemon and goldfish playing classic video games. Videos on the site can also be streamed on Microsoft Xbox and PlayStation 4 game consoles.

Google was reportedly in talks to buy Twitch earlier this year. The acquisition would have expanded the scope of YouTube’s video ambitions. Neither company commented on the reports.

The deal ultimately fell through, an unnamed source told Recode, and Amazon stepped in to pursue the streaming site.

original article via: CNET


Windows 9 unveiling set for September 30, report says

Published on August 21, 2014, by

Microsoft’s Windows 9, the successor to the widely panned Windows 8, could be shown off at the end of next month, according to a new report.

Microsoft is planning to hold a special press event on September 30 to show off Windows 9, The Verge is reporting, citing people who claim to have knowledge of the company’s plans. The date is currently “tentative,” according to the report.

It’s not yet clear whether Windows 9 will actually be known as Windows 9. The operating system is currently code-named Windows Threshold, though it’s highly likely that Microsoft will keep its numbering scheme with the next platform.

Last week, CNET sister site ZDNet reported that Microsoft is planning to launch a “technology preview” of Threshold at the end of September or early October. The report from Mary Jo Foley indicated that users would be able to try out the operating system, but would need to have software updates automatically downloaded to the platform each month.

Whenever Threshold makes an appearance, it’s expected to come with a wide range of improvements, including a “mini” Smart Menu, separate windows for Metro-style applications running on the desktop, and support for virtual desktops.

According to The Verge’s sources, Microsoft will be showcasing some of those improvements and new features at the event on September 30. The operating system should launch as a beta preview soon thereafter.

In a statement to CNET, Microsoft was succinct in its response to the news, saying only that it has “nothing to share” at this point.

original article via: CNET


Music Site SoundCloud to Start Paying Artists

Published on August 21, 2014, by

SoundCloud says it will start paying artists and record firms whose music is played on the popular streaming site.

Berlin-based SoundCloud boasts some 175 million unique listeners a month, but so far those who upload tracks to the site haven’t received money.

The move coincides with the introduction of ads, the revenue from which will be shared with musicians and rights holders.

SoundCloud founder Alexander Ljung said Thursday that artists will be able to decide which tracks the audio and display ads can appear on, and initially only content played in the United States will be counted.

Ljung says the program will start with 20 partners ranging from major record companies to independent artists, but eventually everyone will be able to join.

original article via: ABC