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Twitch

Twitch, the Amazon-owned video-streaming service used primarily for esports, was caught in the middle of a tragedy Sunday when a gunman opened fire on a crowd of people participating in and watching an esports tournament being aired on Twitch at a bar in Jacksonville, Florida.

Why it matters: This is one of the worst instances yet of public violence being broadcast (in part) to thousands of people in real time through internet live-streaming. It's also one of the first times such an incident has occurred on an Amazon-owned platform.

The details: Many rounds of shots can be heard on the livestream, although the actual shooting took place off camera.

  • The screen turns away from the players and to a full-screen video of the virtual game being played. The screen eventually pauses to say "controllers disconnected" while at least a dozen shots and screams can be heard in the background.
  • Right before the shooting, a red laser dot, presumably from the gunman's weapon, appears on the chest of one of the gamers participating in the game.

Twitch has since taken the video down, but it has gone viral on other social media outlets.

A tweet previously embedded here has been deleted or was tweeted from an account that has been suspended or deleted.

Twitch is by far the most popular streaming platform for gamers, with over 2.2 million monthly unique broadcasters competing for the attention of the site's 15 million daily users, according to the company's website.

  • It is common for gamers to gather in physical areas (bars, arenas, etc.) to watch fellow gamers play games live, for entertainment and in order to learn new techniques.
  • The people in attendance on Sunday's event were watching fellow gamers play "Madden NFL 19," the latest version of the widely popular "NFL Madden" video game series, which has been developed and sold by EA Sports for over two decades.

Esports has become a massive business, and is expected to nearly double in U.S. revenue 2021, according to PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC). PwC estimates that esports will bring in $240 million in U.S. revenue in 2018, which is 10 times more than it brought in just five years ago.

  • Its popularity has exploded, in large part, due to live-streaming platforms, like Twitch, as well as YouTube, that can connect gamers instantly.
  • Gamers can win millions of dollars by competing in some of the more popular live-streamed esports and video game tournaments. Thousands of viewers pay for tickets to watch games live at various venues.
  • Some of the more popular live video games, like "Fortnite" or "Overwatch," command viewing events of up to thousands, filling stadiums and major venues.

The bigger picture: Increasingly, people are leveraging the mass reach of live-stream platforms to commit violent acts.

  • Facebook, in particular, faced heavy criticism last year for making its "Facebook Live" streaming technology readily available to its more than 2 billion monthly active users without fully understanding the consequences of it first.
  • Google and Twitter have also had to deal with the unforeseen consequences from their live platforms, YouTube and Periscope.
  • Many tech firms have since been able to crack down on these types of videos before they're uploaded or before they go viral with better artificial intelligence and rapid-response teams.

Amazon acquired Twitch in 2014 for $970 million. That's roughly the same price that Google paid for YouTube in 2006 and Facebook paid for Instagram in 2012.

Go deeper

Rep. Rice demands Cuomo resign after third woman accuses him of misconduct

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo during a February news conference in New York City. Photo: Seth Wenig/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

Rep. Kathleen Rice (D-N.Y.) on Monday evening called for New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) to resign, after a third woman accused him of inappropriate behavior.

Driving the news: Anna Ruch told the New York Times Monday that Cuomo asked to kiss her at a New York City wedding reception in September 2019.

Scoop: Inside the GOP's plan to retake the House

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy. Photo: Elijah Nouvelage/Bloomberg via Getty Images

House Republicans will reclaim their majority in 2022 by offering candidates who are women, minorities or veterans, a memo obtained by Axios says.

Why it matters: The document, drafted by a super PAC blessed by House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, names top Democrats to target — Jared Golden of Maine, Matt Cartwright of Pennsylvania and Ron Kind of Wisconsin — and the type of Republican candidates to beat them.

Scoop: Trump talked out of early Ohio endorsement

Jane Timken at a 2017 Trump rally. Photo: Kyle Mazza/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Donald Trump had to be talked out of making an early endorsement in Ohio's 2022 U.S. Senate race, a sign of his eagerness to reengage politically, people familiar with the conversations tell Axios.

What we're hearing: The former president discussed endorsing former state GOP chair Jane Timken last week during a meeting at Mar-a-Lago with RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel, but top advisers — including Donald Trump Jr. — urged him to wait.