Amazon Buys Bebo to Expand Twitch’s eSports Platform
Amazon has apparently acquired Bebo for $25 million with a view to building on Twitch as an eSports platform, and in particular helping to grow the Twitch Rivals tournament series.
Bebo, a social network launched in 2005 that was once the largest in the UK, has been acquired by Amazon’s video game streaming platform Twitch in order to build the platform’s eSports business and, specifically, Twitch Rivals – a series of competitive eSports events.
As TechCrunch reports, the acquisition includes Bebo’s 10 employees and its intellectual property. Amazon is thought to have paid $25 million for the company, beating competing offers from chat app Discord and social media giant Facebook, which apparently offered $20 million.
Bebo’s success as a social network was bright, but short. At the height of its popularity Bebo enjoyed a reported 10.7 million unique users, overtaking MySpace in the United Kingdom and Ireland. However, after the rise of Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram the company eventually filed for bankruptcy in 2013.
Before this week’s acquisition, Bebo had been purchased back by its original founders for $1 million who then proceeded to turn it into a destination for organizing and running tournaments for streamers. Those streams were broadcast on Bebo.com (which is now offline) and Twitch.
With Twitch Rivals consisting of a tournament series made for Twitch streamers, Amazon clearly sees a role for what Bebo was already doing to organize streamers around the events. How that plays out has yet to be seen, but it does demonstrate how important Amazon thinks game streaming continues to be and therefore its desire to build a larger services platform around it under the Twitch brand.
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