TIME Television

Vince Gilligan Thought True Detective Would Win the Emmy for Best Drama

66th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards - Press Room
LOS ANGELES, CA - AUGUST 25: Show Creator Vince Gilligan, winner of the Outstanding Drama Series Award for Breaking Bad poses in the press room during the 66th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards held at Nokia Theatre L.A. Live on August 25, 2014 in Los Angeles, California. Jason Merritt—Getty Images

Breaking Bad also won the first solo Drama writing award for a woman in 20 years

Even the mastermind behind Breaking Bad didn’t foresee an Emmys sweep for the show’s final season. “I didn’t think we would win — I thought it would be True Detective,” Vince Gilligan said at the AMC party in Los Angeles, Calif. after the show picked up five Emmys, including best Drama for the second year in a row. “I felt like there was an awful lot of groundswell for True Detective, which was an excellent show and a worthy show, and I thought, ‘We’ve been off the air now for a year and a half.'”

Breaking Bad raked in three out of the four top acting Emmys for Drama: another Lead Actor win for Bryan Cranston, a Supporting Actress win for Anna Gunn, and a Supporting Actor win for Aaron Paul.

Paul was just as surprised at the honors awarded to a show that’s no longer on the air. “I wanted Breaking Bad to sweep the way it did, but did I expect it?” he told TIME. “No.”

Writer Moira Walley-Beckett also picked up a Best Writing Emmy, which makes her the first solo woman to win the award in the Drama category since 1994 — the other female writers since then all co-wrote with men.

Gilligan said he hadn’t known that Walley-Beckett was the first woman to win for Drama writing on her own since Ann Biderman won for NYPD Blue in 1994. “That’s a sad statement, really — that [it's] been 20 years,” he said. “That’s a sobering bit of history, but I’m sure glad Moira was the one who broke the streak. She wrote one of the best episodes we’ve ever had of Breaking Bad, and I’m so glad she won for it.”

Walley-Beckett’s win may be part of what Julianna Margulies called a “wonderful year for women in television” in her acceptance speech for Best Lead Actress in a Drama. Anna Gunn agrees. “I think there’s a plethora of really strong roles for women on television now,” she said. “It feels like a renaissance. It does make me feel like there were the days where there were female-driven shows like I Love Lucy and the Mary Tyler Moore show, and now we’re back in a place where female-driven dramas and comedies are making a real comeback.”

Besides, she added, “Sometimes the juiciest, most complex roles are actually in television.”

Meanwhile, a table full of Mad Men cast members sat in a corner, smoking like it was 1968.

TIME movies

Watch the Latest Gone Girl Trailer

The new trailer shows an even creepier look at the film adaptation of the bestseller

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During Monday night’s Emmy Awards, a new trailer debuted for the much-anticipated film adaptation of Gillian Flynn’s bestselling novel Gone Girl. The David Fincher factor is in full force thanks in part to an impressive score from Trent Reznor, who won an Oscar for Fincher’s The Social Network.

There’s nothing that new in this trailer compared to the others — aside from a quick, although creepy, look at how Nick and Amy meet. The story follows the mysterious disappearance of Amy Dunne (played in the film by Rosamund Pike) and the husband (Ben Affleck) who looks as if he’s responsible for killing her. Gone Girl hits theaters Oct. 3.

TIME Television

See How Michael Cera Pranked Sundance Film Festival in 2013

Actor asked a friend to ply him with awkward questions

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Funnyman Michael Cera dropped by the Late Show with David Letterman on Monday and revealed how he pranked the audience at a Sundance Film Festival Q&A in 2013.

While at the festival promoting his movie Crystal Fairy & the Magical Cactus, Cera asked a friend in the crowd to ask two specific questions during the Q&A. “The first part is when is the last time you saw your son Amos, and the second part is if you’re so sure he’s not your son why won’t you take the DNA test?” Cera explained.

According to Cera, the audience went silent and he responded by asking that the fans stick to questions about the movie. Letterman joked that Cera should be “banned for life” from Sundance after pulling that prank.

TIME Music

Burning Man Reopens After Rain Delays Festival

A man looks at the Burning Man effigy as it is prepared for the Burning Man Festival at Black Rock City in Nevada on Aug. 29, 2000.
A man looks at the Burning Man effigy as it is prepared for the Burning Man Festival at Black Rock City in Nevada on Aug. 29, 2000. Hector Mata—AFP/Getty Images

Inclement weather had threatened to douse the famous desert "burn"

Hippies and tech moguls alike will finally be able to get into Burning Man Tuesday after rain delayed the festival’s opening.

While Burning Man’s official Twitter had warned attempted revelers that cops were turning away cars Monday due to inclement weather, it announced that the festival’s Reno gates would reopen Tuesday at 6 a.m. local time.

Hundreds of stranded travelers took refuge in casinos or the local Wal-Mart parking lot, undeterred by the damp start to the desert event. “It’s the best festival in the world,” Jeff Cross told the AP Monday night when he was unloading provisions from his RV parked outside of Wal-Mart. “And there’s no cellphones, no internet, no money or corporate sponsors.”

Although that’s not the case for all Burning Man goers. Nick Bilton at the New York Times recently reported on the growing trend of a Silicon Valley elite infiltrating the egalitarian, counter-culture scene, in air-conditioned and wifi-equipped RVs.

The rain didn’t extinguish the Burning Man spirit for waylaid travelers camping at Pyramid Lake, the Reno Gazette-Journal reports. Dozens had to be told by local rangers that they had to keep their clothes on as they waited. “How can you not know that it is not OK to be naked in public?” one ranger said.

Such behavior is acceptable at Burning Man, which will run through Sept. 1.

TIME Television

Breaking Bad Ends Its Emmy Run on a High Note

Vince Gilligan
Vince Gilligan, center, and the cast and producers of “Breaking Bad” accept the award for outstanding drama series at the 66th Primetime Emmy Awards at the Nokia Theatre L.A. Live on Monday, Aug. 25, 2014, in Los Angeles. Vince Bucci—Invision/AP

The AMC show was the big winner of the 2014 awards

Seth Meyers joked in his opening monologue that the 2014 Emmys marked the year cable television really felt the heat from Netflix, but it was still AMC’s Breaking Bad that was the night’s big winner — both in terms of major awards and in terms of the show’s most viral moments.

The hit series, which concluded its fifth and final season last fall, took home most of the night’s most important trophies on the drama side, including Outstanding Drama Series, Outstanding Lead Actor (Bryan Cranston), Outstanding Supporting Actress (Anna Gunn), Outstanding Supporting Actor (Aaron Paul) and Outstanding Writing. Though Modern Family continued its winning streak with yet another Outstanding Comedy Series award (and has more wins overall), the ABC sitcom didn’t quite dominate its categories the way Breaking Bad did in the drama department: Bad wrapped up its run with 16 wins and 58 total nominations.

But numbers aside, Breaking Bad still provided plenty of the show’s most memorable moments. The most GIF-worthy of all was Cranston’s lip-lock with Veep‘s Julia Louis-Dreyfus, whose two-part set-up was funnier than most, if not all of Seth Meyers’ jokes. The speeches, if far less outrageous, stood out as well: Anna Gunn’s admiration for her co-stars, Aaron Paul’s Jesse Pinkman-like reaction to winning and Cranston’s inspirational pep talk (“Take a chance, take a risk, find that passion”) reminded Breaking Bad die-hards that the cast probably had just as difficult a time saying goodbye to the show as fans did.

It may have been a show about murderous meth dealers — and many would argue True Detective‘s Matthew McConaughey deserved Cranston’s trophy more — but it’s not a stretch to say Breaking Bad helped give the 2014 Emmys a real heart.

You almost don’t feel bad that Jon Hamm still doesn’t have an Emmy.

TIME Television

Emmys 2014: The Winners, The Losers and Everything in Between

Give it up for TV, everyone!

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As you may have noticed, the 2014 Emmys were held on a Monday night in August. While the show’s host, Seth Meyers, expects you to believe that this means the Emmys are on the brink of cancellation (after all, how can they be expected to compete with Bachelor in Paradise?), the truth is that NBC knows we’ll watch any awards show at any time, because awards show are The Best (even when they’re on at the same time as Bachelor in Paradise). As Meyers pointed out in his opening monologue, television is “the booty-call friend of entertainment” — and we’re all willing to take the call.

Here’s what happened during the 2014 Emmys:

Best Supporting Actor in a Comedy: While Amy Poehler tried to convince viewers that she was handing out the award for “Best Onscreen Orgasm in a Civil War Re-enactment,” in fact, she was simply handing yet another trophy to Ty Burrell for his work on Modern Family. Then he delivered a speech so unfunny that Poehler almost took it back and gave it to herself.

Girls vs. The New Girl: Allison Williams, who Meyers was contractually obligated to mention will play Peter Pan in NBC’s new musical, was forced to present with Zooey Deschanel in some sort of Girls death match. It was Louis C.K., though, who collected his sixth prize for Best Writing for a Comedy Series.

Biggest Show Stealer: Jimmy Kimmel took his two minutes on stage to show Meyers how hosting is done, calling out Matthew McConaughey for rudely winning all the awards (“Should we just give you the BET Award for Best Male Hip Hop Artist too?”) and generally cracking the audience up with solid charisma.

Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy: As expected, Allison Janney took the prize for Mom. She hit the stage wrapped in head-to-toe velvet, in what one can only assume was a stylish tribute to George Costanza.

Best Directing in a Comedy Series: Even with Louis C.K. and Jodie Foster in the running, Modern Family’s Gail Mancuso won. She made the most of her moment on stage, making determined eye contact with McConaughey in the least creepy way possible before getting rightly played off the stage while talking about her parents’ 66th wedding anniversary.

Billy Eichner for 2015 Emmys Host: Meyers teamed up with Billy on the Street star Billy Eichner to run around the streets of New York and yell at people. In the five-minute break from boredom, they took up a collection for the cast of Big Bang Theory, talked about The Mindy Project’s and Tatiana Maslany’s snubs, and tried to get people on the streets of New York to name one Emmy nominee.

Best Male Lead in a Comedy Series: The delightful pairing of Bryan Cranston and Julia Louis-Dreyfus presented the Best Actor in a Comedy prize and because life (and awards shows) has no meaning, Jim Parsons beat out Louis C.K. and William H. Macy for the honor. Parsons is good, but he’s not that good. No one is. He handled the win in the classiest way possible, because even he seemed shocked that he won. Again.

Best Female Lead in a Comedy Series: Louis-Dreyfus took the crown again, because if she was good enough to win it twice, why not a third time too? As Selina Meyer knows, it’s hard to beat an incumbent.

Best Moment of Television History: During their presentation, they had a running gag that Louis-Dreyfus couldn’t remember that Cranston was a guest star on Seinfeld and that the two even made out on camera. On her way to the stage to collect her prize, Cranston rushed the stage and swept her into a deep kiss, until she finally remembered. Presumably it will win the prize for Best Miniseries at next year’s Emmys.

Best Reality Series: It’s unclear why networks insist on submitting shows to this category since The Amazing Race has won every single year since the category was created. Maybe next year for Dancing With the Stars — if, you know, The Amazing Race gets canceled.

Outstanding Writing in a Dramatic Miniseries or Movie: Steven Moffat won for Sherlock, not only because he is a talented writer, but because a) he is British and everyone loves a British accent and b) his show stars Benedict Cumberbatch and no one stops Benedict Cumberbatch from winning everything (including the entire Internet).

Best Actress in a Miniseries: With bona fide movie star Julia Roberts competing in the field, it was a welcome surprise that Kathy Bates won for her work on American Horror Story: Coven.

Biggest Sign That You’re Not Watching the VMAs: The bladder-leakage ads that air during the broadcast.

Best Supporting Actor in a Miniseries: Scott Bakula Quantum Leap-ed into the Emmys telecast to give the award to Martin Freeman for Sherlock, because it was the only way that Bakula could correct the error of the past after Freeman didn’t win an Oscar for Love Actually.

Best Director Dramatic Miniseries: They’re just making up the categories at this point, but still, everyone was thrilled that Fargo won something, even it was a category that typically only industry professionals care about.

Lead Actor in a Miniseries: Poehler and Meyers worked through some material before introducing “the two actors not rumored to be starring in the second season of True DetectiveWoody Harrelson and McConaughey, who showed up on stage wearing nearly matching outfits, making a few cracks about plagiarism and citing their inside jokes. They were on hand to deliver the prize for lead actor in a miniseries, which went to Cumberbatch for his Ice Bucket Challenge (O.K., fine, Sherlock). But since the world would probably implode if McConaughey and Cumberbatch were on stage at the same time, Cumberbatch wisely stayed home. For the good of the universe. He’s like that.

Best Fixers: Liev Schreiber and Kerry Washington presented together, giving hope to the possibility of a Scandal/Ray Donovan crossover, which, of course, would be amazing.

Best Lead Actress in a Miniseries: Jessica Lange won for her role in American Horror Story: Coven, because she is wildly talented, already has a few Emmys and might actually be a witch. That is enough for the voters this go-around.

Sad Fact: Throughout the show, as Meyers keeps inviting his talented and funny friends on stage with him (Poehler! Samberg! Hardwick! Key and Peele!), it becomes increasingly clear that all his friends are better than him at hosting the show.

Best Musical Interlude: Since every Emmys telecast needs a musical moment and Meyers doesn’t typically sing, they wisely conscripted “Weird Al” Yankovic to spice up some television theme songs. Highlights include pointing out that Jon Hamm is still Jon Hamm regardless of an Emmy win, that President Grant on Scandal was in Ghost, “Inigo Montoya grew a beard” for Homeland, and, of course, that the unspoken theme for Game of Thrones is “We need more scripts! Write them faster!”

Best Crossover: Andy Samberg dressed as Joffrey Baratheon to crash Lena Headey’s introduction for best miniseries, demanding to know why she didn’t love him as much as she loved Uncle Jamie.

Best Miniseries: Fargo deserved the win, but here’s the weird thing: Fargo is a miniseries with 10 episodes, while True Detective is a drama with eight episodes. In short: none of it makes a lick of sense and Sarah Silverman is doing it right.

Best Intro: “The only person from ER to ever amount to anything — Julianna Margulies!” Second best intro: “Let’s all do our best Ricky Gervais impression by giving a big round of applause to Ricky Gervais!”

Best Movie: Ryan Murphy’s The Normal Heart took the prize, which is actually a surprise, because it looked like Sherlock was going to sweep despite the fact that it was the worst installment of an otherwise stellar series and the small fact that it’s not a movie.

Best Pre-Gaming: Silverman won Outstanding Writing for a Variety Special for We Are Miracles and delivered an impressive, seemingly off-the-cuff speech ending with this gem: “We are all molecules hurtling through space.” When you remember that she showed up on the red carpet with liquid THC, it all makes more sense.

Through the Looking Glass: When the man who directed the Tony Awards show wins an Emmy while directing the Emmys, it’s way too meta.

Best Mashup Opportunity: Gwen Stefani misspoke when she announced the award for Best Variety Series, calling The Colbert Report the Colbort Report. Someone should mash up Colbort and Surbort and make the Stephen-Beyoncé love child of our dreams.

Best Crashing: When Stefani miffed it, Jimmy Fallon took the opportunity to grab the Emmy and the mic before Stephen Colbert could take his rightful place. Colbert expertly trolled him, though, letting him be his mouthpiece and almost getting him to say bulls—t live.

Best Supporting Actor: Aaron Paul got the award, and it’s hard to argue that he doesn’t deserve it, but Peter Dinklage, Josh Charles, Mandy Patinkin and Jon Voight all did incredible work, and if life were fair, the statuette would move from home to home like the Stanley Cup.

Most Sexist Moment: The president of the television industry (or something) had Sofia Vergara step up on a spinning pedestal so we could all objectify her. Don’t worry — there’s a GIF so you can objectify her at home.

In Memoriam: The annual sad parade was a brutal reminder of all the talent we lost this year including Paul Walker and Maya Angelou, who probably never expected to be in a sentence together, along with Casey Kasem, Meshach Taylor, the Professor from Gilligan’s Island, Uncle Phil from The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, Ann B. Davis, Eli Wallach, Shirley Temple, and so many more. It’s unclear whether Vergara had to spin the entire time.

Saddest Tribute: Robin Williams was given his own in-memoriam moment with Billy Crystal coming out to memorialize his friend, whom he called “the brightest star in the comedy galaxy.” It was moving, heartfelt and longer than 23 seconds.

Outstanding Multi-Hyphenate: Director-Writer-Cinematographer Cary Joji Fukunaga took the best-director prize for his work on True Detective. Fun facts: his first job in Hollywood was working as a PA on the video for Destiny’s Child’s “Survivor,” he was also a pro snowboarder and, in fact, he is not Riff Raff.

Best Supporting Actress in a Drama: As expected, Anna Gunn won for Breaking Bad. Guess everyone doesn’t hate Skyler White after all.

Best Product Placement: After an ad for new show State of Affairs, the show’s star Katherine Heigl appeared on stage to announce Best Supporting Actor and Actress in a Drama. Prizes were given offstage, but Janney won for Masters of Sex and Joe Morton for Scandal.

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama: Margulies won for her excellent work on The Good Wife and went on stage to point out that it is a wonderful time for women on television (Vergara notwithstanding).

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama: Cranston completed the Breaking Bad sweep of the Emmys. He graciously got on stage and admitted that even he considered voting for McConaughey.

Least Surprising Awards: Modern Family won for Best Comedy and Breaking Bad won for Best Drama. At this point it seems clear that NBC is actually running the 2013 Emmy broadcast, and we’re all a part of a reboot of Punk’d.

MORE: The 2014 VMAs: The Good, the Bad, the Beyoncé

MORE: See the Best Red-Carpet Moments From the 2014 Emmys

TIME Television

Netflix Only Took Home 7 Emmys After All

Uzo Aduba
Uzo Aduba arrives at the 66th Primetime Emmy Awards at the Nokia Theatre L.A. Live on Monday, Aug. 25, 2014, in Los Angeles. Evan Agostini—Invision/AP

Orange Is the New Black and House of Cards didn't snag a ton of awards — but hey, they'll always have the nominations

Seth Meyers couldn’t stop joking about Netflix and cable shows outperforming network television at the Emmys — but the streaming service-cum-network didn’t quite make the splash that some expected at this year’s award ceremony.

Clocking in at 31 nominations (including 13 for House of Cards and 12 for Orange Is the New Black), Netflix went home with just seven statuettes, all of them won in the Creative Arts session, which are given out ahead of time instead of during the NBC broadcast. Uzo Aduba was the only actor to be recognized, for her role as Suzanne “Crazy Eyes” Warren in Orange Is the New Black.

Here’s the full list of all the awards Netflix won this year. Next year, they’ll just have to inject some of that Frank Underwood ruthlessness to up their game.

Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series: Uzo Aduba, Orange Is the New Black

Outstanding Casting for a Comedy Series: Orange Is the New Black

Outstanding Picture Editing for Nonfiction Programming: The Square

Outstanding Single-Camera Picture Editing for a Comedy Series: Orange Is the New Black

Outstanding Sound Mixing for a Comedy or Drama Series (One Hour): House of Cards

Outstanding Cinematography for Nonfiction Programming: The Square

Outstanding Direction for Nonfiction Programming: The Square

 

TIME Television

Sofia Vergara Was Literally Put on a Pedestal in a Completely Sexist Bit at the Emmys

"That's why I stopped doing the car shows!"

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At the Emmy Awards, Modern Family star Sofia Vergara introduced Bruce Rosenblum, chairman of the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences. Flatly, she said it had always been her dream to come to America to do such a thing on stage — but like so many American dreams, it soured on the vine. Rosenblum asked Vergara to step onto a pedestal that then rotated 360 degrees, showing off the Latina star’s famous curves while he talked about the state of the television industry.

Vergara played along dutifully, striking attractive poses after an initial awkward moment. Though the gimmick might have turned into a commentary on how Hollywood actresses are hypersexualized and objectified, the second beat of the joke never came. Instead, it ended with a straight-up justification for the sex-sells mentality: “What truly matters,” Rosenblum said, “is that we never forget that our success is based on always giving the viewer something compelling to watch.”

“Okay enough, enough,” Vargara protested, climbing off the pedestal, “that’s why I stopped doing the car shows!”

Maybe it benefits women like Vergara to play along with jokes like this, but there’s no excuse for the Academy to engage in such a blatantly sexist trope. It does a disservice to Vergara’s skills as an actress and comedian to pretend — even in a self-conscious way — like she’s just a body. Sure, it was self-aware – but a self-aware wink doesn’t work like a get-out-of-jail-free card.

Next year, do better.

TIME Television

Watch Billy Crystal’s Moving Tribute to Robin Williams at the Emmys

Billy Crystal: "Robin Williams, what a concept"

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The past year was a tough one for Hollywood when it came to saying goodbye to all the great talents who passed away. While pop star Sara Bareilles sang a touching rendition of the Charlie Chaplin classic “Smile,” the Emmy Awards acknowledged James Avery, Maya Angelou, Lauren Bacall, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Casey Kasem, Don Pardo, Harold Ramis, Mickey Rooney, Elaine Stritch, Shirley Temple and many more before ending with a special tribute to Robin Williams from the late actor’s friend Billy Crystal.

“He was the greatest friend you could ever imagine,” Crystal said in the tribute. “It’s very hard to talk about him in the past because he was so present in all of our lives.”

Above, watch the Emmys’ heartfelt tribute, which certainly improves upon the unexpectedly brief 23-second tribute the MTV Video Music Awards threw together last night.

TIME Video Games

Amazon Explains Why It Just Paid Nearly $1 Billion for Twitch

Amazon Said To Buy Twitch For $1 Billion As Google Bid Fails
David Paul Morris—Bloomberg / Getty Images

Amazon VP of games Michael Frazzini and Twitch CEO Emmett Shear talk about Monday's surprise high-price acquisition and what it means for the popular game-streaming service going forward.

The rumor mill got it wrong.

Twitch, an online service that lets people watch other people play video games, was supposed to go into the arms of Google. That was the received wisdom until late Monday afternoon anyway, when Amazon capsized expectations and announced it would pay $970 million for the fledgling company, an amount said to be less than what Google was offering (the rumor mill pegged that amount at around $1 billion, though never backed it up), but an enormous sum by any measure. It also the most Amazon’s paid for any company to date.

Why the heck would the world’s largest e-tailer–in the news more these days for its consumer electronics and apparent hopes to conquer time and space by deploying fleets of personalized delivery drones–buy a games-streaming startup? This is where knowing a little about Twitch helps.

These days everyone has big numbers, but this one’s genuinely impressive: Twitch says it had 55 million unique visitors to its site in July 2014 alone, and all of those visitors eyeballed over 15 billion minutes of games-related content. The number of people generating all that content? One million, says Twitch, comprising an audience of amateur and pro gamers, game publishers and studios, video game news sites and eSports-related events (eSports being the term gamers call video games played in professional matches). All sorts, in other words, from content creators and consumers to critics and video gaming “athletes.”

Here’s another way to look at it: the Wall Street Journal reported in February that Twitch accounted for nearly 2% of peak Internet traffic in the U.S., or fourth overall during peak hours. The only three companies that scored higher were Apple (4.3%), Google (22%) and Netflix (32%). Think about that for a minute: Twitch, a company that arrived in 2011, accounted for more peak U.S. traffic in February than Facebook.

But why Amazon of all companies? When I put the question to Twitch CEO Emmett Shear Monday night, he said it came down to two words: like minds.

“Talking to Mike [Frazzini, VP of Amazon Games] along the way, it really became clear that we have a shared vision for the gaming industry. We see the same trends in the same space,” said Shear. “And it’s also their culture. Amazon thinks about problems and solving those problems in the same way we do at Twitch. They think about how you can build things for customers, and how to do that in the long run.”

That sense of philosophical camaraderie over the course of multiple meetings culminated in formal negotiations, said Shear.

“One of the things I was really impressed by during the deal discussions was Amazon’s commitment to making Twitch a fully-owned subsidiary, which means I get to remain the CEO, we keep our office, we keep our culture, we keep our strategy,” said Shear. “But we get access to all of these resources and products that Amazon has that’ll let us do all of that better and faster.”

Amazon, for its part, looks less like an outlier and more like a natural home for a gaming-centric service like Twitch when you add up its recent moves. Where rivals like Apple and Google still hold gaming at arm’s length, building platforms and ecosystems to lure third party creators in lieu of crafting first-party content, Amazon’s been quietly cultivating its own gaming stable, edging step by step more toward the sort of holistic approach a Sony or Microsoft or Nintendo might take in securing ownership of both the hardware and software ends of the bargain.

When I asked Frazzini if Amazon paying beaucoup bucks for an enthusiast-angled video game operation is further evidence that Amazon intends to square off directly with gaming’s 800-pound gorillas, though, he was quick to couch the move as strictly consumer-driven.

“I was never, like, ‘How does this, that or the other company do it, and maybe we should,'” said Frazzini. “I’ve always thought about it in much simpler terms, through the lens of the customer experience and what we wanted to create, where we thought we could built inventive new experiences that would resonate. That’s been the driving motivation. If you look at Amazon fairly high-level, what you end up with is, we have a commerce business, and games are a very important part of the commerce business.”

Amazon loves people who buy games through Amazon, said Frazzini, because gamers tend to come back and buy all sorts of other things. But it’s also about more than consumers, he said, talking about the importance of catering to the sort of premium content developers the company’s been wooing with its cloud-focused Amazon Web Services model–which is just another way of saying Amazon’s Twitch purchase is (at least in part) about growing its gaming cred.

Consider Amazon’s two most recent games-related acquisitions: Amazon bought developer Double Helix Games in February, a studio known for the survival horror game Silent Hill: Homecoming as well as its work on a revitalized version of Killer Instinct, an arcade-style fighting game for Microsoft’s Xbox One. And in April, Amazon rolled out Fire TV, a $99 set-top box that not only plays high-fidelity games, but supports them with an optional gamepad–one a traditional console- or PC-gamer wouldn’t be embarrassed to wield.

“I think it’s fairly safe to say at this point that on anything with a screen, games are the number one or two activity,” said Frazzini. “Obviously if we’re going to be in the devices business, we have to be thinking hard about games. And at the center of that is the customer experience, which is what’s so interesting about Twitch for us. Twitch has that same point of view. They think long term. They think a lot about invention.”

Frazzini is naturally effusive when talking about Twitch’s accomplishments since the service’s debut in 2011, going on to call it “just the beginning” of a process that’s about anticipating “where games are going.” Clearly Amazon sees that destination as more than another overloaded app store or slew of iterative mobile devices. Put another way, no one spends close to $1 billion on a gaming service whose most vocal proponents identify as core gamers if they aren’t serious about wooing and winning them over.

The acquisition makes even more sense when you think about services like Amazon Instant Video. Amazon’s been in the video-on-demand business since 2006, and with its recent shift to an all-you-can-eat Amazon Prime streaming video model, whereby Prime members gain access to scads of video content (including the company’s coup-of-coups exclusive deal with HBO) for a Netflix-ian flat fee, capturing new eyeballs by adding a service like Twitch fits hand-in-glove with the company’s ostensible goals. And think of what else the purchase buys Amazon in terms of new eyeballs: Twitch is already an entrenched and critical presence on both Sony’s PlayStation 4 and Microsoft’s Xbox One.

And for those worried that Amazon’s purchase could somehow harm or curtail the house Twitch built, it’s not clear yet what the actual relationship between Amazon and Twitch will be, but Twitch’s Shear said the most immediate benefits (for Twitch, and thereby its user base) translate as exponentially greater scalability.

“This year we spent a huge amount of money growing our network footprint, and I hope that next year we can spend three times as much money or just leverage some of the network footprint Amazon already has,” said Shear. “Now we can move into locations Amazon already has servers. And that alone is super exciting to me.”

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