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Amazon has acquired Twitch, the world’s leading video platform and community for gamers, both companies announced in a statement after the market close on Monday. Google’s YouTube was thought to have originally been the winning bidder, but that has changed after Amazon stepped in to close the deal.

“Today, I’m pleased to announce we’ve been acquired by Amazon,” Emmett Shear, CEO of Twitch, wrote on Monday. “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.”

Twitch has more than 1 million members who broadcast videos, and sees over 50 million users on a monthly basis. Those users tend to watch some 216 million hours of video during the month, causing Twitch to account for as much of 1.35% of all Internet traffic. The site primarily focuses on video gaming, including playthroughs of video games by users, along with broadcasts of e-sports competitions.

This could be a big deal for Amazon and its pursuit against Google. It’s effectively turning into a media company, while still giving Twitch its independence.

“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 – from The International, to breaking the world record for Mario, to gaming conferences like E3. And, amazingly, Twitch is only three years old,” Jeff Bezos, founder and CEO of Amazon, said. “Like Twitch, we obsess over customers and like to think differently, and we look forward to learning from them and helping them move even faster to build new services for the gaming community.”

Several apps available on the iTunes App Store give gamers the ability to stream their gameplay to a Twitch channel, including Gameloft’s Asphalt 8: Airborne. The Twitch app also features an in-app chatting feature which allows viewers to chat with other viewers.

[The Information via Wall Street Journal]