9 December 2014 - 22:47

Alex Garfield and Twitch speak on surprise GoodGame purchase

The world's most popular streaming platform just purchased the world's biggest esports agency
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The world's most popular streaming platform just purchased the world's biggest esports agency.

On the heels of its own $1 billion acquisition by Amazon, Twitch has acquired GoodGame, an esports agency representing some of the best teams and players in gaming.

"Twitch is a platform we believe in," GoodGame CEO Alex Garfield told the Daily Dot.

In an exclusive interview with the Daily Dot, both Twitch and Garfield declined to comment on a sales price. But Garfield did emphasize “all of [Good Game’s] employees will be taken care of very well.”

A portion of the sale price will also go directly to the players operating within the GoodGame system, Garfield said. And he added that Amazon’s ownership of Twitch would present the players with “additional benefits to which they didn’t previously have access.”

The deal immediately raises questions about potential conflicts of interest. Twitch partners with multiple teams and players that compete directly with GoodGame Agency. But Twitch COO Kevin Lin said other teams have nothing to worry about.

“[Twitch] will continue to treat all teams and streamers exactly the same, as we always have," Lin said.

For Twitch, the move is about “expanding monetization opportunities” for content creators, and potentially leveraging GoodGame's corporate relationships to directly sponsor popular streamers.

Lin called GoodGame a “proper sponsorship manager,” and highlighted the broader good he thinks it has done supporting and stabilizing the young and sometimes volatile industry.

Garfield, who once managed Evil Geniuses and Alliance, two teams under the GoodGame umbrella, moved the company to an “agency approach” about two years ago. This has allowed GoodGame to support more teams, players, and even competitions than publicly known.

How Twitch’s ownership will affect the existing GoodGame portfolio remains to be seen. This is the first time GoodGame has taken on funding from outside investors.

The streaming company has already played a significant role in GoodGame's growth, which Garfield referred to as “organically partnering.” The agency had previously signed a partnership deal with Twitch that brought many of its players to the platform. And Garfield said the Twitch's viewership metrics have proven important to GoodGame’s financial viability and later success.

He made clear in his conversation with the Daily Dot, however, that GoodGame’s clients would not be bound to stream on Twitch instead of other competing platforms.

“[We] also want what’s best for the client. If they don’t want to stream on Twitch, they don’t have to,” Garfield said.

“GoodGame will be independent to run as they see fit," Lin added.

Prior to the deal with Twitch, other streaming platforms approached Garfield about exclusive streaming arrangements with his players. But GoodGame isn't the only organization being courted in the increasingly competitive streaming industry. Azubu, MLG, and Hitbox have all approached popular players and streamers with sizable contracts and signing bonuses in recent months in a bid to win their exclusivity.

Twitch just took that relationship one step further, and with one of the biggest names in the business. 

Illustration by Jason Reed

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