San Francisco-based video gaming platform Twitch has just raised another $20 million in a third round of funding, the company announced on Monday. To date, the startup, which has an enormously healthy stated draw of more than 45 million visitors per month, has raised $42 million in three rounds of funding, as the Twitch community grows.
According to Twitch, users watch live video on Twitch for 95 minutes each day. The company's recent deals with Sony and Microsoft raise prospects that the number of gamer viewers will grow when Microsoft's Xbox One and Sony's PlayStation 4 consoles launch in November.
Investors in the newest round announced Monday include Take-Two Interactive, publishers of Grand Theft Auto, Thrive Capital, and WestSummit Capital.
What is Twitch? "We want to connect gamers around the world by allowing them to broadcast, watch, and chat from everywhere they play," according to the company team. The idea is to provide streams of players' sessions in real-time over the Internet, appealing to today's gamers who are eager to hold live broadcasts while playing their favorite games.
The company's everything-gaming online platform features live streaming events and tournaments, personal streams of individual players, and game-centric talk shows. "We have it all," according to the company, including "large-scale gaming competitions that pack stadiums, community marathons that raise millions of dollars for charity."
Game industry watchers recognize the impact that live streaming has had on the video game business, with a momentum that benefits both providers and users. With this technology, the market has been grown out to encompass not just players but game spectators. As a spectator event, this translates into huge audiences for professional tournaments as well.
"The trend of video game-based content as entertainment is not only here to stay, it's becoming a critical part of the holistic gaming experience," said Kevin Lin, chief operating officer at Twitch.
The Twitch team has tracked the gamer journey: "Fifteen years ago, gamers got their news from magazines. Ten years ago, they started getting their news from game news Web sites. In 2013, gamers are turning away from magazines and even traditional news Web sites in favor of video," according to Twitch.
Microsoft and Sony, meanwhile, are not blind to the trend and are building Twitch into their next-generation consoles. The company has secured partnerships with Sony and Microsoft to bring Twitch viewing and direct streaming to the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 when they launch in November. (continued...)