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Amazon's not going to turn Twitch into a store, says Twitch CEO

Although the Internet's mega superstore is acquiring Twitch, don't expect to see more ways to buy video games from the site.

Twitch Director of Community and Education Marcus Graham interviews Twitch CEO Emmett Shear and Amazon VP of Games Mike Frazzini during the Twitch townhall shortly after the companies announced their deal. Screenshot by Donna Tam/CNET

SAN FRANCISCO -- Twitch, which Amazon is purchasing for nearly $1 billion, isn't saying much about how it will incorporate its new owner's services into its own, but one thing is for sure: Twitch is not morphing into a retail service.

"It would destroy what Twitch is," Twitch CEO Emmett Shear said at the TechCrunch Disrupt conference here on Monday. "I know it's the last thing I want and I think it's the last thing Amazon wants, too."

In reality, Twitch already drives video game purchases with partners linking to product pages, including Amazon's, and also acts as a way to advertise to gamers, Shear said.

The e-commerce giant, which is buying Twitch for $970 million, shows a commitment to gaming and media with the purchase. The deal gives Amazon access to Twitch's 55 million users, most of whom are the most loyal of gamers. It's a tough crowd to break into, but Twitch has managed to build a community around people who want to watch others play video games in real-time.

Launched in 2011, the site rapidly gained popularity, garnering more traffic than video-streaming site Hulu in February. Twitch really took off when it struck deals with Microsoft and Sony to power live streaming on the Xbox One and the PlayStation 4 consoles. It made headlines when some users decided to crowdsource a game of Pokemon, and then again for the broadcasting of fish playing classic video games through the help of motion sensors.

Google was also reportedly in talks with Twitch about a deal. The streaming site would have paired nicely with YouTube's still nascent live-streaming services. Twitch decided to go with Amazon instead because Google wasn't willing to give the company final say over future decisions, according to reports.

Shear wouldn't confirm if the rumors were true, but said he chose to sell to Amazon because the online retailer is willing to have a hands-off approach to its acquisitions.