|Industry||VoIP, PC gaming communities, E-sports|
|Headquarters||Huntsville, Alabama, United States|
Curse LLC (formerly Curse, Inc., and doing business as Curse) is an online game portal and network of gaming websites founded by Hubert Thieblot in 2006. The company is headquartered in Huntsville, Alabama, and has offices in San Francisco; New York City; Los Angeles; Brighton, UK; and Berlin, Germany. Claiming to be the "number one resource for core online gamers," Quantcast estimated monthly unique traffic in 2013 in excess of 30 million visitors. Curse has several primary functions, the most notable of which include an add-on and modification service called Curse Client for such games as World of Warcraft, Rift, The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, Terraria, Kerbal Space Program, and Minecraft, a collection of over 1000 gaming wikis known as Gamepedia, and a Voice over IP (VoIP) service called Curse Voice.
Curse formerly sponsored a professional team, known collectively as Team Curse, that competed in League of Legends and Call of Duty, which in addition to various high-profile wins have garnered sponsorship from companies such as Nissan, Alienware, and Cooler Master. In January 2015 Team Curse merged with Team Liquid under the name of the latter organization.
While Curse initially offered modifications and add-ons alone through their Curse-Beta website, offerings have expanded to include Wiki services, the Curse client, CurseForge, CurseVoice, Union for Gamers, BukkitDev, and in-house content produced for YouTube.
Curse was born out of founder Hubert Thieblot's "hardcore" love of World of Warcraft. After leaving school, Thieblot began to turn his passion into a business, launching CurseBeta in 2006, offering up add-ons and modifications. In short order, the site exponentially increased in traffic and popularity. In 2007, a Series A round of venture capital investing led by AGF Private Equity granted Curse $5 million USD, and in 2009, Curse disclosed an additional Series B round led by Ventech Capital, AGF Private Equity, and SoftTech VC (Jeff Clavier) in the amount of $6 million USD, bringing total funding for that year (with an additional $3 million USD in revenue) to $11 million. As the funding for Curse increased, it proceeded to develop several high-profile sites in-house, while acquiring larger sites with already established communities and content, particularly for MMO games such as RuneScape.
In 2011, Inc. 500 ranked Curse Inc. as the 405th fastest growing company in the United States, and the San Francisco Business Times ranked it 22nd in their list of the "Top 100 Fastest Growing Companies in the San Francisco Bay Area". On December 14, 2012, Curse released its much-anticipated Gamepedia wiki service, designed as a direct competitor to Wikia. The service was launched out of beta testing with 90 wikis, including sites for Minecraft, DotA 2, World of Warcraft and more, with 244,332 articles from over 410,000 users.
In April 2012, Ernst & Young named Thieblot as a semifinalist in their "Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year" program for Northern California.[dead link] By June 2012, Curse's monthly worldwide traffic was reported by Quantcast as being in excess of 21 million unique visitors. On June 26, 2013, Curse announced in a press conference that it would relocate their chief headquarters to Huntsville, Alabama, leaving their sales office in San Francisco. On May 7, 2014, Curse introduced Curse Profiles, an integrated social media system in Gamepedia offering a wide range of features. The service allows users to add wikis to their favorites list, earn Wikipoints and Levels, display personal statistics (such as global editing leaderboards, number of edits, etc.), and change and set global preferences; the service also introduced a new user page system, a change from the MediaWiki standard user pages, including a new commenting system. Curse has expressed a long-term interest in expanding content and communities as their prime concern.
Acquisition by Amazon
On August 16, 2016, Amazon.com Inc. announced via subsidiary Twitch Interactive that it would acquire Curse, Inc. for an undisclosed amount. In April 2017, the Curse desktop app was renamed to Twitch.
Curse sites and services
Curse Client and CurseForge
Curse Client was an add-on and modification management service from Curse, with current support for World of Warcraft, Runes of Magic, Rift, World of Tanks, Skyrim, and Minecraft. The client functions as a lightweight alternative to traditional add-on management tools, and features synchronization across multiple personal computers, add-on setting backups, and a privately developed security system. The client is supported by a website called CurseForge, which allows for the uploading and reviewing of plugins, add-ons, and modifications. The Curse client was renamed to Twitch Desktop App in 2017.
Curse Voice was a Voice over IP (VOIP) client produced in-house by Curse. Intended to replace other VOIP solutions for games such as League of Legends, the client boasts a robust feature set, including an in-game voice overlay, an auto-match making service for automatically connecting you to the members of your team, and the use of URL links to join sessions. The client was originally rejected by Riot Games, who felt that the timers included for various spawn times could be considered cheating, but Curse has since removed the offending content and brought the software in line with the terms of service for League of Legends. The German version is still in the beta-phase. In 2015, Curse Voice initiated a PR campaign to show users, developers and publishers all of the benefits that the service had to offer. The service boasted how its safety features could help prevent users from getting swatted with Curse's CTO explaining how this was possible in an interview with Polygon. Other publications such as IGN, Gamecrate, and Yahoo News to name a few picked up the story. On May 6, Curse reported on the amazing growth of its VoIP service on GameSpot and Game Informer as it prepared to show off the service at E3 2015. In June 2015, Curse Voice made its way to not only PC, but Mac and mobile, giving users more ways to use the service while on the go or at home. Gamers started to take note of all the great features that Curse Voice has to offer and publications like Kotaku and PC Gamer recommended using the service while playing online games like League of Legends (LoL). Consequentially, on July 7, SEC reports revealed that Riot Games had invested $30 million in Curse which is the company behind LoL but no further details were revealed at the time. The company had stated that they wanted to help games improve their in-game chat and many gamers speculated if maybe this was the case with the recent investment. Curse Voice has been proven to improve a game's community according to recent interviews with Smite and Robocraft alongside the release of the company's whitepaper. With all of these big gains in the Curse Voice Client, Curse officially announced the opening of a brand new headquarters for their VoIP service on September 10 to Irvine, California. It is no surprise with all of the recent success by Curse headquartered in Huntsville, Alabama that Bloomberg would name the city one of "The Unlikely Cities That Will Power The U.S. Economy."  On March 16, 2017, Curse Voice was relaunched as the Twitch Desktop App. Largely a reskin of Curse Voice, the new Desktop App boasted tighter integration with the Twitch streaming services including whispers, activity sharing, and giveaways.
One of the larger sites in the CurseForge network, BukkitDev is a collection of Minecraft plugins for the Bukkit development platform, a platform which has become the de facto standard for Minecraft plugins within the last few years. As of May 2014, BukkitDev hosts 13,570 plugins and 8,337 unique users. The Bukkit system has proven so effective and widespread, that on February 28, 2012, Mojang, the makers of Minecraft, hired the developers to improve Minecraft's support of server and client modifications and plugins.
On May 6, 2014, CurseForge introduced Kerbal CurseForge as an official repository of modifications and add-ons for the popular game Kerbal Space Program On May 6, 2014, developers Squad announced the partnership; Squad COO Adrian Goya said of the service, “Modders have helped make Kerbal Space Program a more open, more rewarding game experience for our players. Curse is an important partner because their team is passionate and experienced in caring for and growing online game communities, such as our amazing playerbase for Kerbal Space Program.”
Additionally, Curse's Author Platform Evangelist Bryan McLemore stated, "We've got a great platform and a tremendous team that will be supporting the amazing modders for Kerbal Space Program. We also expect the millions of gamers who frequent Curse every month to see Kerbal Space Program as a great addition to our existing community." Kerbal CurseForge already boasts 94,300 downloads from its central repository.
Curse owns and operates multiple high-traffic gaming websites, including Azurilland, Diablofans, Hearthpwn, MMO-Champion, Arena Junkies, Reign of Gaming, LoL Pro, Minecraft Forums, Guild Wars 2 Guru, and FPS General. Curse has also acquired the first person shooter statistics and science website Symthic which focuses on the statistical analysis of data from FPS games, including such details as weight, accuracy, and weapon drift. Curse partnered in 2014 with GOG.com to provide a free game from their library for premium Curse members.
On December 14, 2012, Curse launched Gamepedia, a wiki hosting platform dedicated to games and written by gamers. The site has since increased in popularity, with, as of October 2017, 1,293,790 contributors, 4,297,344 articles and 1,682 wikis. Gamepedia hosts a number of official wikis, which are endorsed and supported by the game developers themselves. High-profile wikis such as The Official Witcher Wiki, the Official Minecraft Wiki, The Official Terraria Wiki, The Official ARK: Survival Evolved Wiki, DoTA2 Wiki, Leaguepedia, COD Gamepedia and Wowpedia have hundreds of thousands of edits across thousands of accounts.
Union for Gamers
Curse has stated that the Union for Gamers has a "user-first approach", offering 90% revenue share (where the content producer receives 90% of video profits), a non-capped contract (there is no maximum amount of money that could be paid out to content producers, unlike capped contracts, where, regardless of the amount your video earns, you can only earn up to a certain amount), no lock-in (content producers are free to terminate their contract whenever they choose), and no requirements for upload schedules or Curse endorsements.
Union for Gamers also offers several tools to content producers, arranged in a dashboard format. The dashboard includes summary boxes which track income, video data, referrals, and previous month comparisons, and a graph feature for revenue and traffic comparison. Tied into the dashboard is a referral system, allowing for additional income to be passively generated by referring parties. Additionally, Curse provides content producers with a knowledge database and support system, exclusive access to Curse logos and video clips.
From the Dashboard, users have access to all their videos, earnings break down, and a wide range of sounds and music provided by Epidemic Sound and AudioMicro. In addition, they also have access to Epoxy, a one-stop-shop for their other social media accounts. From there, they can upload new videos, or track their Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram accounts. Epidemic also helps create short clips of uploaded videos, pre-formatted to meet specific social media requirements.
Curse also produces video in-house for their official YouTube channel. The lineup includes Curse Weekly Roundup, the Minecraft Update, the WoW Weekly Recap, the League Update, and the Pokémon Update. Curse also provides live coverage of game industry events including the Penny Arcade Expo, Gamescom, MineCon, BlizzCon, and the Eve Online Fanfest.
Curse historically broadcast livestreamed content on their Own3D channel until Own3D ceased operations as a company on January 31, 2013.
Because of new sponsorship sale rules for the League of Legends Championship Series, Team Curse was required to change its name. Team Liquid acquired the League of Legends roster, as well as every other eSports player supported by the organization.
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