Amazon’s Video Game Power Grab with Twitch Prime

In 2014, Amazon bought the massive streaming service known as Twitch. Three years later Twitch now has a paid membership known as Twitch Prime that is free if one is already an Amazon Prime member. Meanwhile, Twitch has reached out to a multitude of video game companies in an attempt to gather a larger audience.

Twitch and video games are already tied together. Twitch is primarily used to stream video games of all varieties, but YouTube also has a massive presence in the video game community. Google owns YouTube and Amazon is competing with Google. That is the strategy behind why Amazon bought Twitch. One of Google’s largest properties is YouTube, and Twitch is something that can compete with and maybe someday rival YouTube. Amazon wants to take on Google, so they started by competing with one of its largest money makers.

But will this strategy work?

With Twitch Prime, this strategy may stand a chance. Twitch has been expanding in recent years, but YouTube is still a colossus. It is reasonable to think that YouTube can’t be competed with, but if that was true then why did Google try to buy Twitch?

Twitch

Twitch has a great foothold in the videogame market that is actively growing thanks to Twitch Prime. This new service that is directly related to Amazon Prime allows members free  “game loot” by making partnerships with various video game companies. This cross promotion is important and done with multiple gaming companies. I will be using Hi-Rez as an example.

TwitchHi-Rez is the gaming studio responsible for the hit MOBA Smite. While only a few years old, Smite has over 25 million players and is growing. In the month of January, Twitch Prime focused on promoting Smite. Exclusive skins, chest rolls, and access to an event were given to Twitch Prime members. These things would either have to be bought or were not attainable otherwise.

Twitch Prime also went as far as to host Smite’s World Championship in association with Coca-Cola. This is a huge step that promotes Twitch Prime, Hi-Rez, and Amazon all at once. Amazon Prime members get Twitch Prime for free, so if a subscriber has an interest in video games obtaining Twitch Prime is easy and painless. Once that subscriber has Twitch Prime, they would be immediately made aware of Smite and its world championship that they could watch for free. After watching, they may be interested in the game which is free too.

This chain of events is beneficial to all three companies without forcing the individual to jump through a multitude of hoops. It is a creative, yet simple way Amazon is using Twitch to compete with YouTube and by extension, compete with Google.

So far, the strategy is effective. It worked on me, as I am an avid Smite player and had not heard about Twitch Prime until Hi-Rez began to advertise it. I already have an Amazon Prime membership, so it was easy for me to get Twitch Prime.

It is working now; however, that does not mean it will continue to work. The biggest roadblock that Amazon has is that it is trying to compete with Google. While Google is already a difficult company to compete with, YouTube is its own headache. While Twitch is growing, it has a long way to go before it can overpower YouTube.

That begs the question, is it possible to overpower YouTube? Can Amazon compete with Google like this? Will Twitch only rest in its large, but specific video game market? YouTube meanwhile has a multitude of video markets with video games being only one.

Only time will tell if Amazon’s strategy will continue to work. Companies like Hi-Rez will continue to benefit in the meantime. The trifecta of marketing is running smoothly, but will it ever gain enough momentum to overpower its rivals?

Sam King

2 thoughts on “Amazon’s Video Game Power Grab with Twitch Prime

  1. You ask if it is possible to overpower YouTube, which I don’t think should be Twitch/Amazon’s goal. Twitch’s main strength is its dominance over the competitive gaming market, where viewers can watch live tournaments of games like Smite, CSGO, LOL, or DOTA. Trying to compete with YouTube step for step seems to me like a bad idea.

    If Twitch continues down this road while heavily promoting itself as the ESPN of video games, with its own in-house media organizations it will fair much better against YouTube which continues to struggle to promote its own live streaming service and so far hasn’t made streamed any major events (except for political debates and similar events).

  2. I don’t think Twitch needs to, or should, try to compete step for step with YouTube. Twitch fills a more specialized niche, and does it better than YouTube or other live-streaming services (not many of us are streaming on Periscope are we?). But I do believe what they are doing now is the right path. If they continue to cross-promote while increasing the amount of special events (such as CSGO championships) Twitch will grow into its own giant.

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