Just over three months since rumours first emerged that YouTube was in talks to acquire video game streaming website Twitch for a reported US$1 billion, the company that birthed the gaming video broadcasting platform, Justin.tv, has shut down.
The live-streaming site, which shut down on August 5, was founded by its namesake, Justin Kan in 2007, along with Emmett Shear, Michael Seibel, and Kyle Vogt. Initially, it was a forum for Kan to live-broadcast his life, with the aid of a head-mounted video camera.
Before long, however, the platform added more channels for others to broadcast their lives, eventually becoming an open live video streaming platform. With live gaming streaming becoming more popular, Justin.tv launched a dedicated subdomain, gaming.justin.tv, and in June 2011, launched Twitch as a dedicated live gaming video platform.
"We'd grown Justin.tv and we knew we wanted to focus on something that would take us to the next level, and we were trying to figure what was really exciting to us about Justin.tv that we could really focus in on and build more of," said Shear, in a video posted on Justin.tv's post-shutdown microsite.
"I thought, 'what if we just focused on growing gaming?' I actually hadn't thought of growing a separate site yet; I just thought, this is the great content, I want to grow that part of the site," he said. "And as it started taking off, I realised that this deserved its own place to live, and it's been an amazing ride, being able to take this thing that was an amazing thing, a very important part of Justin.tv, and grow it into something even bigger."
Early this year, Justin.tv and Twitch's parent company rebranded as Twitch Interactive Inc. Now, according to a statement on the remnants of the Justin.tv website, the company wants to focus wholly on the Twitch service.
"Twitch is now the focus of the company's resources. Unfortunately that means we need to shut down Justin.tv. We thank all of our broadcasters and viewers for 7 years of live video memories," the company said.
The move comes just weeks after unconfirmed media reports suggested that Google subsidiary YouTube had inked a deal to acquire Twitch for an unconfirmed amount — earlier reports had put the figure at over US$1 billion, the largest acquisition in YouTube’s history.
Since then, however, Google and Twitch have remained silent on the acquisition rumours.
If the company has been bought by Google, it would not be a first for the Twitch team, with the company selling off its Socialcam video sharing app to Autodesk in 2011 for US$60 million.