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Gaming and community have always been deeply, deeply intertwined, and as
gaming has become more competitive in nature and as more clan-based
mechanics have been introduced into games, there's real world
relationships that are being formed.
And Discord just makes that communication much, much easier than had been
previously available.
Slack and Skype are examples of popular platforms that allow for casual and
professional conversation through text, video and voice.
But there's another chat platform that has become increasingly popular
with gamers.
It's called Discord.
It's a free chat app designed for gamers to connect both when they're
playing games and when they're not.
A modest concept, so it would seem.
But the company is valued at over two billion dollars and has more daily
users than Slack.
It's almost like these poker games that maybe your grandfather played or
those bridge matches that your grandmother played.
They'll organize something on a Saturday, sit around the table and talk
about everything, including the game they're playing.
Modern gamers do that as well.
They just happen to do it from their living rooms or in front of their
computers.
Discord launched in May of 2015 and has been rapidly growing ever since,
tripling its user base in 2018.
Now Discord has roughly 250 million users and 14 million daily active
users. Compare that to Slack, which has just 10 million daily active users
and you'll begin to realize just how huge the gaming community is.
The size of the global video gaming industry was $96 billion in 2018, and
the industry has become one of the fastest growing segments in the global
media and entertainment market.
As a gamer himself, CEO Jason Citron saw an opportunity.
The idea for Discord came from looking at our own experiences, playing lots
of online games back around 2014 and sort of noticing that the tools that
we were using to play these games were pretty outdated.
The tools that we were using didn't have good mobile apps.
You couldn't send pictures to your friends in them, and the voice quality
we knew could be better.
And so what we really did was create an all-in-one voice video and text
chat app that replaced this constellation of tools that people would use.
Citron says other gaming apps like TeamSpeak use outdated technology while
services like Skype or WhatsApp didn't cater to the video game market.
We saw an opportunity to really blend those two.
Take the things that the legacy systems did really well in terms of
supporting gamer's needs, but take advantage of modern technology stocks,
modern UX, making sure it was available on all devices.
So that you can use it when you're on your phone and away from your PC or
away from your console.
The company's rapid rise is partly due to the video game streaming site
Twitch, as well as LAN Tournaments, E-Sports competitions and the
popularity of games like Fortnite.
Popular streamers and competitive gamers were early adopters and others
quickly caught on.
Now about 315 million messages are sent through the platform every day.
Discord's growth isn't meteoric.
None of their competitors, gaming specific competitors, have sort of been
able to scale with them or grow over time.
And now it's 2019, even three and a half, four years later.
A lot of their competitors still don't have features that they rolled out
in their first year.
Discord emphasizes privacy.
Users need custom invite links to join servers and channels can be set to
private.
So unlike other social media products, with Discord, you have to say I'm
joining this group or I'm going to add this person as a friend in order to
talk with them.
And then in groups, we offer moderators, a lot of tools to be able to
control their space, ban users and make sure that the kind of
conversations that they want to have happening meet the bar that they
expect.
However, the emphasis on privacy can be a double-edged sword.
Various alt-right and white supremacist groups have set up servers on
Discord, drawn to the platform's anonymity.
They use Discord to organize the "Unite the Right" rally in
Charlottesville. And after the gathering ended, with three dead and dozens
injured, the company came under fire.
Many said it should have done more to moderate conversations and ban
inappropriate content.
While Discord wouldn't comment on this, it did eventually ban many servers
devoted to white nationalism.
Discord's terms of service prohibit harassment, threats and calls to
violence. But still, the company only looks into content if it's reported.
But it's not just bad actors who are using Discord for purposes beyond
gaming. Though the company markets itself explicitly to gamers, there are
several servers devoted to everything from stock trading to meme sharing
and fantasy football.
I have a group of friends that all game with one another.
And now, you know, when we get off work, often times our go-to when we want
to sort of unwind is to go to our Discord channel and hang out.
You know, it's a social platform as much as it is, I think a utility.
The company has raised about 280 million dollars in funding, and it's
gaining users around the world at a rate of 2.5
million people per week.
We're a truly global product.
You know gaming culture is one of the few kinds of things that people do
that actually cuts across all cultures in the world.
And so you can play in a League of Legends and connect around League of
Legends with someone basically no matter where they are.
Discord generates revenue through its games marketplace and premium
subscriptions. The game store launched in October of last year and Discord
takes a 10 % cut of all purchases.
As for the subscription service, there are two levels.
This gives users access to additional features, higher upload limits and
free games.
Discord hopes these offerings will eventually help to turn a profit, but
it's in no rush.
The company closed its seventh funding round in December, netting 150
million dollars .
All of this for an app where gamers can chat?
Citron isn't surprised.
Gaming helped me spend time and build relationships with the people that I
cared about.
And that's what Discord brings to everyone in the gaming community.
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Inside Discord - The Gaming Chat Platform That's Bigger Than Slack

186 Folder Collection
PENG published on April 14, 2019
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