By Daniel Hunter

Amazon has bought a video-game streaming website, Twitch, for $970m (£585m).

The move comes as a huge surprise given YouTube was reported to be in late-stage talks to buy Twitch for a similar amount.

Twitch is a streaming service which allows its 55 million monthly active users to watch other people play video games.

In a statement, Amazon chief executive Jeff Bezos, said: "Broadcasting and watching gameplay is a global phenomenon and Twitch has built a platform that brings together tens of millions of people who watch billions of minutes of games each month.

"We look forward to learning from them and helping them move even faster to build new services for the gaming community."

It is one of Amazon's largest acquisitions to date.

Emmett Shear, one of Twitch's founders, was quick to allay any fears its users may have about the deal.

He said in a letter to Twitch users: "We chose Amazon because they believe in our community, they share our values and long-term vision, and they want to help us get there faster.

"We're keeping most everything the same: our office, our employees, our brand, and most importantly our independence. But with Amazon's support we'll have the resources to bring you an even better Twitch."

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