Google linked to $1bn acquisition of video game site Twitch

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Google is rumoured to be looking into the possibility of buying video game streaming service Twitch for $1 billion (594 million).

If the deal goes ahead it will be the largest acquisition Google has made since it purchased YouTube in 2006. Talks are believed to be in the early stages, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Based in San Francisco, California, Twitch allows users to stream live gameplay from their computer, Xbox One or PlayStation 4 to an internet audience. Created in 2011, the website has become the go-to place for gamers wishing to broadcast their playthroughs via the popular "Let's Play" series.

The website raised $20 million (12 million) from investors in 2013, as well as gaining support from major game companies, including the publisher of the Grand Theft Auto series, Take-Two Interactive.

Twitch boasts 45 million monthly users, with 1 million registered users regularly uploading videos to the site. It has overtaken web giants Amazon, Facebook and Hulu in peak traffic numbers, owing to its reputation as the hub of the e-sports community online.

Let's Play videos originally gained popularity on YouTube, which has tried to encourage gamers to use its services in the past. A number of high-profile YouTube personalities exclusively play games, including number one-ranked user PewDiePie, who has 26.4 million subscribers on the site.

The video site has been in hot water with some gamers, however, as copyright protection policies have resulted in YouTube deleting swathes of user videos that depicted protected media.

Google's impending purchase will mean the company owns two of the most popular video streaming sites on the internet. Gaming's meteoric rise as a hobby and a sport in its own right will enable the firm to tap into that profitability.

Google has said that it has no comments to make on the rumours.