Variety reports Google (GOOG), via YouTube, has reached a deal to buy Twitch, a site that lets users live-stream their PC/Xbox/PlayStation gameplay, for over $1B in cash. But the WSJ reports Google's talks with Twitch are still "at an early stage;" the paper provides no acquisition price.
Twitch claims 45M+ monthly users, including over 1M who upload/stream videos, sometimes for widely-watched competitive events. The company claims its broadcaster count tripled in 2013, and that its average user watches 95 minutes/day.
Twitch also has a partner network of 4K+ content providers - it typically shares ad revenue with them - and integration deals with various game developers. Its user base skews heavily towards the 18-34 demographic whose love of online video has drawn the attention of advertisers.
Variety's sources state YouTube (1B+ MAUs) is prepping for a regulatory challenge to the Twitch deal. The online video giant is no stranger to hosting live game broadcasts, but its market share is well below Twitch's.
Update: The Verge reports Google is close to a $1B deal for Twitch, and that it beat out Microsoft and other would-be suitors.