Curse LLC

Last updated
Curse LLC
Subsidiary
Industry VoIP, PC gaming communities, E-sports
Founded2006
Founder Hubert Thieblot
Headquarters,
Key people
Parent Amazon.com, Inc. (2016-2018)
Wikia, Inc. (2018-Present)
Website Curse.com

Curse was a network of gaming websites. The company is headquartered in Huntsville, Alabama, and has offices in San Francisco, New York City, Los Angeles, Brighton, and Berlin.

Huntsville, Alabama City in Alabama, United States

Huntsville is a city primarily in Madison County in the Appalachian region of northern Alabama. It is the county seat of Madison County. The city extends west into neighboring Limestone County and south into Morgan County.

San Francisco Consolidated city-county in California, US

San Francisco, officially City and County of San Francisco and colloquially known as SF or SanFran, is a city in—and the cultural, commercial, and financial center of—Northern California. San Francisco is the 13th most populous city in the United States, and the fourth most populous in California, with 883,305 residents as of 2018. It covers an area of about 46.89 square miles (121.4 km2), mostly at the north end of the San Francisco Peninsula in the San Francisco Bay Area, making it the second most densely populated large U.S. city, and the fifth most densely populated U.S. county, behind only four of the five New York City boroughs. San Francisco is the 12th-largest metropolitan statistical area in the United States, with 4,729,484 people in 2018. With San Jose, it forms the fifth most populous combined statistical area in the United States, the San Jose–San Francisco–Oakland, CA Combined Statistical Area.

New York City Largest city in the United States

The City of New York, usually called either New York City (NYC) or simply New York (NY), is the most populous city in the United States. With an estimated 2018 population of 8,398,748 distributed over a land area of about 302.6 square miles (784 km2), New York is also the most densely populated major city in the United States. Located at the southern tip of the state of New York, the city is the center of the New York metropolitan area, the largest metropolitan area in the world by urban landmass and one of the world's most populous megacities, with an estimated 19,979,477 people in its 2018 Metropolitan Statistical Area and 22,679,948 residents in its Combined Statistical Area. A global power city, New York City has been described as the cultural, financial, and media capital of the world, and exerts a significant impact upon commerce, entertainment, research, technology, education, politics, tourism, art, fashion, and sports. The city's fast pace has inspired the term New York minute. Home to the headquarters of the United Nations, New York is an important center for international diplomacy.

Contents

Curse initially focused on offering mods for various video games. As it expanded, the company began to develop and acquire gaming communities (particularly focusing on MMORPG titles such as World of Warcraft , as well as other games such as Minecraft ), wikis, as well as offering voice chat services. The company also sponsored an eponymous eSports club, which competed primarily in League of Legends .

Massively multiplayer online role-playing games (MMORPGs) are a combination of role-playing video games and massively multiplayer online games in which a very large number of players interact with one another within a virtual world.

<i>World of Warcraft</i> video game by Blizzard Entertainment

World of Warcraft (WoW) is a massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG) released in 2004 by Blizzard Entertainment. It is the fourth released game set in the Warcraft fantasy universe. World of Warcraft takes place within the Warcraft world of Azeroth, approximately four years after the events at the conclusion of Blizzard's previous Warcraft release, Warcraft III: The Frozen Throne. The game was announced in 2001, and was released for the 10th anniversary of the Warcraft franchise on November 23, 2004. Since launch, World of Warcraft has had seven major expansion packs released for it: The Burning Crusade, Wrath of the Lich King, Cataclysm, Mists of Pandaria, Warlords of Draenor, Legion, and Battle for Azeroth.

<i>Minecraft</i> Sandbox video game

Minecraft is a sandbox video game created by Swedish game developer Markus Persson and released by Mojang in 2011. The game allows players to build with a variety of different blocks in a 3D procedurally generated world, requiring creativity from players. Other activities in the game include exploration, resource gathering, crafting, and combat. Multiple game modes that change gameplay are available, including—but not limited to—a survival mode, in which players must acquire resources to build the world and maintain health, and a creative mode, where players have unlimited resources to build with. The Java Edition of the game allows players to modify the game with mods to create new gameplay mechanics, items, textures and assets. In September 2014, Microsoft announced a deal to buy Mojang and the Minecraft intellectual property for US$2.5 billion, with the acquisition completed two months later.

On August 16, 2016, Curse announced that it had agreed to be acquired by Amazon.com Inc. via its subsidiary Twitch Interactive for an undisclosed amount. [2] On December 12, 2018, Wikia announced that they had acquired Curse's media assets, including its gaming community websites and Gamepedia wiki farm. The remainder of the company (operating as CurseForge) remains under Twitch.

Amazon (company) American electronic commerce and cloud computing company

Amazon.com, Inc., is an American multinational technology company based in Seattle, Washington that focuses on e-commerce, cloud computing, digital streaming, and artificial intelligence. It is considered one of the Big Four technology companies along with Google, Apple, and Facebook.

Wikia Free wiki hosting service powered by MediaWiki

Fandom, also known as Wikia and Wikicities before 2006, is a wiki hosting service and domain operated by Wikia, Inc., a for-profit Delaware company founded in October 2004 by Jimmy Wales and Angela Beesley and headed by Perkins Miller as CEO. Fandom uses the open-source wiki software MediaWiki, the same used by the Wikimedia Foundation. Wikia, Inc. derives its income from advertising and sold content, publishing most user-provided text under copyleft licenses. The company also runs the associated Fandom editorial project, offering pop-culture and gaming news.

History

2006–2010

Curse was born out of founder Hubert Thieblot's "hardcore" love of World of Warcraft . [3] After leaving school, Thieblot began to turn his passion into a business, launching CurseBeta in 2006, [4] offering up add-ons and modifications. [5] In short order, the site exponentially increased in traffic and popularity. [6] [7] In 2007, a Series A round of venture capital investing led by AGF Private Equity granted Curse US$5 million, 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 US$6 million, bringing total funding for that year (with an additional US$3 million in revenue) to $11 million. [8] As the funding for Curse increased, it proceeded to develop several high-profile sites in-house, [9] [10] while acquiring larger sites with already established communities and content, particularly for MMO games such as RuneScape. [11] [12]

2010–2014

In 2011, Inc. 500 ranked Curse Inc. as the 405th fastest growing company in the United States, [13] 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". [14] [15] On December 14, 2012, Curse officially launched the Gamepedia wiki farm. [16]

In April 2012, Ernst & Young named Thieblot as a semifinalist in their "Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year" program for Northern California. [17] By June 2012, Curse's monthly worldwide traffic was reported by Quantcast as being in excess of 21 million unique visitors. [18] 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. [19] On May 7, 2014, Curse introduced Curse Profiles, [20] 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. [21] [22]

Ernst & Young Multinational professional services network headquartered in London, England

Ernst & Young is a multinational professional services firm headquartered in London, England, United Kingdom. EY is one of the largest professional services firms in the world. Along with Deloitte, KPMG and PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), EY is considered one of the Big Four accounting firms. EY has recently shifted its historical business focus towards consulting. In particular, EY advanced its market presence in strategic consulting and entered into direct competition with what has been a traditional field of "Big Three" companies, namely Bain, McKinsey and BCG. By series of acquisitions and shift of market focus, EY expanded its market share in areas including operations services consulting, strategy services consulting, HR services consulting, financial services consulting & technology services consulting.

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. [23] In April 2017, the Curse desktop app was renamed to Twitch. [24]

Sale of media properties to Wikia

In December 2018, it was announced that Wikia, Inc. had reached an agreement to acquire Curse's media properties from Amazon.com for an undisclosed amount. This excludes Curse's client software and the CurseForge network, which both now operate directly under Twitch Interactive. [25] [26]

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. [27] 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 the CurseForge website, which allows for the uploading and reviewing of plugins, add-ons, and modifications.

Curse Voice

Curse Voice was a Voice over IP (VoIP) client produced in-house by Curse. [28] 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, [29] who felt that the timers included for various spawn times could be considered cheating, but Curse has since removed the offending content [30] and brought the software in line with the terms of service for League of Legends. [31] 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. [32] Other publications such as IGN, [33] Gamecrate, [34] and Yahoo News [35] to name a few picked up the story. On May 6, Curse reported on the amazing growth of its VoIP service on GameSpot [36] and Game Informer [37] 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 [38] and mobile, [39] 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 [40] and PC Gamer [41] recommended using the service while playing online games like League of Legends (LoL). Consequentially, on July 7, SEC reports [42] revealed that Riot Games [43] had invested $30 million in Curse which is the company behind LoL but no further details were revealed at the time. [44] [45] The company had stated that they wanted to help games improve their in-game chat [46] and many gamers speculated if maybe this was the case with the recent investment. [47] Curse Voice has been proven to improve a game's community according to recent interviews with Smite [48] and Robocraft [49] [50] alongside the release of the company's whitepaper. [51] With all of these big gains in the Curse Voice Client, Curse officially announced the opening of a new headquarters for their VoIP service on September 10 to Irvine, California. [52] [53] [54] [55]

On March 16, 2017, Curse Voice and Curse Client were both discontinued and replaced by the Twitch Desktop app. [56]

BukkitDev

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 [57] within the last few years. As of May 2014, BukkitDev hosts 13,570 plugins and 8,337 unique users. [58] 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. [59]

Kerbal CurseForge

On May 6, 2014, CurseForge introduced Kerbal CurseForge as an official repository of modifications and add-ons for the popular game Kerbal Space Program [60] On May 6, 2014, developers Squad announced the partnership; [61] 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 [62] 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. [63]

Curse Network

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. [64]

Gamepedia

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 April 2019, 1,293,790 contributors, 5,882,793 articles and 2,321 wikis. [65] Gamepedia hosts a number of official wikis, which are endorsed and supported by the game developers themselves. [66] High-profile wikis such as The Official Witcher Wiki, the Official Minecraft Wiki(java), The Official Terraria Wiki, The Official ARK: Survival Evolved Wiki, Dota 2 Wiki, Leaguepedia, COD Gamepedia and Wowpedia have hundreds of thousands of edits across thousands of accounts. These wikis are also available in several languages.

Union for Gamers

Starting in March 2012, Curse partnered with YouTube content producer and Athene for a YouTube partnership program, [67] [68] offering a wide range of features and tools. [69]

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. [70]

Union for Gamers also offers several tools to content producers, arranged in a dashboard format. [71] 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.

They are no longer accepting new channels in Union for Gamers in 2019. [72]

YouTube

Curse also produces videos 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. [73]

Team Curse

Curse formerly sponsored a professional team, known collectively as Team Curse, that competed in League of Legends and Call of Duty , [74] [75] which in addition to various high-profile wins have garnered sponsorship from companies such as Nissan, [76] [77] [78] Alienware, [79] [80] and Cooler Master. [81] [82] [83]

In December 2014, it was announced that the team would drop the Curse name due to new League of Legends Championship Series sponsorship rules (in particular, Curse had wanted to have Curse Voice be a sponsor through other teams, which would prohibit it from being title sponsor of another team). It was ultimately announced in January 2015 that the Team Curse organization would merge into Team Liquid. [84] [85]

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Team Curse, also known as Curse eSports, was a North American esports organization sponsored by Curse, Inc. and based in Los Angeles. Formed as a League of Legends team in 2010 by Steve "LiQuiD112" Arhancet, it was acquired by Curse Inc. in August 2011, and the team renamed to Team Curse. On April 15, 2014, Arhancet announced that he had purchased the esports arm of the Curse Inc., which from then on was an organization entire separated from Curse, Inc., although they were still the title sponsor of the new Curse eSports brand.

Hubert Thieblot is a French businessman who founded Curse, Inc. in 2005 and has operated as the CEO since then. During his tenure, he has overseen the expansion of the Curse network into wikis, news, video content, and desktop applications including Curse Client and Curse Voice. In 2013, his network of sites was estimated to have garnered in excess of 30 million unique visitors per month. In addition to his work with Curse, Thieblot also speaks at industry related events as a guest speaker, and has spoken at the 2011 Montgomery Technology Conference and the Login 2011 Conference.

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