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Twitch Desktop App announced, open beta testing begins later this month

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Curse bills itself as "the next generation in gaming communication," with features including enhanced text and voice chat, an in-game overlay, multiplatform friends sync, and more. It was acquired last summer by Twitch in a deal that VentureBeat said could indicate interest in establishing a greater presence in the field of gamer-specific services. And that does appear to be the case: Less than two weeks after revealing its plan to start selling games, Twitch has announced that Curse will be enhanced, rebranded, and relaunched as the Twitch Desktop App. 

"The Twitch Desktop App—which features all of the elements people love about the Curse app, such as screen sharing, voice and video calling, and community server creation—is now bolstered by Twitch features. This includes Friends, Whispers, activity sharing, and will soon serve as a game library for purchases fulfilled by Twitch," Twitch CEO Emmett Shear said. "The result is a one-stop shop for connecting members of our community.”   

The Twitch Desktop App will feature community servers with voice and video messaging, private chat messaging, "activity sharing," and addons and mods that will automatically update. It will also enable users to "download games purchases fulfilled by Twitch when the sales program launches this spring." The initial report of Twitch game sales indicated that the function would work in concert with the existing Twitch launcher, but a rep confirmed that the new Desktop App will actually replace the launcher entirely. 

The app sounds more than a little Discord-like, and for good reason: Twitch said it will benefit both streamers and their followers, "since their communities can thrive even when the streamer is offline." The Twitch Desktop App is scheduled to go into public beta testing on March 16, and will be available for download at twitch.tv. You can find out more at the Twitch Blog

Andy has been gaming on PCs from the very beginning, starting as a youngster with text adventures and primitive action games on a cassette-based TRS80. From there he graduated to the glory days of Sierra Online adventures and Microprose sims, ran a local BBS, learned how to build PCs, and developed a longstanding love of RPGs, immersive sims, and shooters. He began writing videogame news in 2007 for The Escapist and somehow managed to avoid getting fired until 2014, when he joined the storied ranks of PC Gamer. He covers all aspects of the industry, from new game announcements and patch notes to legal disputes, Twitch beefs, esports, and Henry Cavill. Lots of Henry Cavill.