According to several US publications, Google is reportedly in talks to buy Twitch, a videogame streaming service with more than 45 million monthly users.
This latest acquisition would be made through YouTube, which Google acquired in 2006 for $1.65 billion, and would be the biggest for YouTube since its purchase.
Twitch reportedly chose Google over multiple other offers including one from Microsoft, according to sources talking to technology site the Verge.
Variety pegs the deal to a figure slightly higher than $US1 billion and reports that Google has already “reached a deal” while the Wall Street Journal says that “talks are at an early stage” and that “the potential purchase price couldn’t be learned.”
Officials at Google and Twitch declined to comment on the matter.
Launched in June 2011, Twitch has quickly become a destination for broadcasting gaming videos and popular.
The San Francisco-based start-up allows users to stream live gameplay videos from desktop computers, as well as Microsoft Xbox One and Sony’s PlayStation 4, which both allow players to upload their own videos direct from the living room.
Online video and networking firm Qwilt reported that in the week ending April 7 Twitch accounted for 44 per cent of all live-streaming traffic in the US. The San Francisco-based start-up has also signed deals with both Sony and Microsoft to provide live-streaming services on the PS4 and Xbox One consoles.
In September, the company raised $US20 million in funding, among other parties.
The start-up raised $20m from investors in 2013 from Thrive Capital, WestSummit Capital and Take-Two Interactive Software game publisher, which publishes the Grand Theft Auto series of games among others parties.
According to the Wall Street Journal, Twitch is the most successful of several products to be spun out of Justin.tv, one of the earliest streaming-video sites on the web, founded in 2006 by Justin Kan and Kyle Vogt.
Twitch has already surpassed Facebook, Amazon and US TV streaming service Hulu in peak traffic, according to infrastructure firm DeepField. It has secured itself as the place to watch major e-sports tournaments, where video games are played competitively for cash prizes.
For Google, Twitch could provide a lucrative new stream of ad revenue, attracting a predominantly young audience that consumes content over long sessions, often hours at a time. This compares favourably to the three-minute slices of video more commonly watched on YouTube.