Twitch's Curse Acquisition Is All About Voice


(Photo: Twitch)

TNL Take: Apparently the eSports/Streaming buying spree is on as Twitch announced the acquisition of gaming community and voice app provider Curse. Amazon now has three Gaming acquisitions under its belt with Twitch, developer Double Helix and now Curse.

This is also the second big buy in just the past week with Microsoft buying live streaming and engagement platform Beam on Thursday.

[Graphic Designers at multi-billion dollar companies: The whole COMPANY + STARTUP thing for acquisition announcements is tired. C'mon, you can do better.]

Curse has three primary products: a community of gaming guide websites or "wikis", a YouTube MCN and a voice platform. 

The majority of press has surrounded Curse's 40+ gaming websites which are focused on primarily eSports games like lolnexus, about League of Legends.

Sure this will bring 30M+ more users to Twitch's overall audience - but for banner ads and pre-rolls?




This deal is primarily about Voice.

(Photo: Curse)

Voice is super integral to the eSports community and this also fits perfectly with Twitch's larger mantra of streamers and providing more tools that enhance engagement with their audience.

I couldn't find further details on this Curse feature but anything related to analytics will be beneficial for Twitch/Amazon:

(Photo: Curse)

So who else could Twitch have bought?


  • Skype: Already owned by Microsoft (which was previously owned by eBay)
  • Discord: With the low end 10X VC return, guessing $300M was a bit pricey
  • Teamspeak: Everybody hates it


Now the big question for me is what happens to Discord, the fantastic voice app that's made huge traction over the past year, and raised $30M.

If you don't think Curse and Discord are comparable, this is from Curse's own site:

(Photo: Curse)

Usually when two buys occur so quickly in a niche industry, the ugly C-word "consolidation" gets thrown around and in this case; it may be true.

I still believe there's opportunity for smaller companies to thrive in the eSports ecosystem but the only unicorns you're going to find is Pro team Unicorns of Love.

(Photo: Unicorns of Love)

Microsoft's Beam Buy Is More About Minecraft Than Twitch

Microsoft's Beam Buy Is More About Minecraft Than Twitch

(Photo: Microsoft)

TNL Take: 7:17 AM conversation with an 8 year old.

"Dad, stop please."

What about this?  Instead of just watching Stampy, you can actually tell him what to do and interact with him. Wouldn't that be cool? 

"You're blocking the iPad." 

This company Beam is going to do that. You're going to like it.

"Dad! I'm watching Stampy!"


He had no idea what I'm talking about.

You have no idea what I'm talking about.

Here's the deal.


When I was a kid way back in that Mesozoic Age called The '80's, my TV consumption primarily consisted of morning and afternoon cartoons inside of a big, black box.

For my young son today, his "TV" is 99% Netflix or YouTube on an iPad and 50% of that are Minecraft videos hosted by the ever affable Brit, Stampy Longnose or Stampy Longhead or Stampy Cat.

You don't need to bother to look him up.

This is 25 year old Joseph Garrett as his Passport says and I'd estimate that he'll bring in $5M this year on Minecraft related content and Sponsorships.

(Photo: DailyMail UK)


My son is obsessed with him


You went through that to give you a sense of the massive audience reach and engagement potential of Microsoft's purchase of live streaming service Beam yesterday.

I included Beam in my "War On Twitch" article in June and this will require a much longer dive - and will be added to the pile of article updates needed.

Beam is a live streaming service like Twitch and many others but the one distinct feature is the ability for the audience to direct the streamer during gameplay - go this direction, use this weapon, go on this quest, etc.


Here's a few quick points on the late news from yesterday:


/01 Seattle

Beam is based there. And so is Microsoft.


/02 Team

By my quick estimate, Beam went from Beta in January, to winning TechCrunch Disrupt in May, to an acquisition by Microsoft in August.

8 months.

Should tell you how the team executes right there.


/03 Cost

Beam had only raised $420K in seed funding outside of the Disrupt prize money. I'm just going to throw out a $10M acquisition price just for comparison sake.

Microsoft bought the In Game Advertising startup I worked for Massive Inc. for about $200M.

In 2006.

In 2010 - they closed the business.


Also nice return for the investors in Beam.



/04 First Minecraft.  Then Twitch and eSports

In the near term, this is going to be about integration into 1st party Microsoft games like Minecraft and the upcoming Sea of Thieves, which is all about multiplayer gameplay.

Long term, there are much wider implications across eSports, broadcasting and distribution.


What does this mean for other startups and companies in the live streaming space?


Activision-Blizzard has MLG.

Disney has BAMTech.

Microsoft has Beam.

China has 100+ live streaming services.


Prediction: EA and PlayStation as the next - and maybe last few - big Buyers in the live streaming and eSports space.