Discord Expanding Services With a Curated Game Store, Indie Program, and More
Discord is, to put it lightly, fairly massive. The popular gaming chat application is home to around 150 million daily users to date, and these numbers don't appear to be slowing down any time soon. For those who may not know, Discord is an app that allows gaming communities to chat more easily through voice, video, and text while playing online. It's been a very useful tool for PC gaming groups and has even made its way to mobile games as well. Just a little while ago, Discord introduced a games library feature to allow users to see all of their installed games more easily. Now, they seem to be ready to expand upon these features even further. In a new post on the Discord Blog, the company announced the Discord Store, a way for gamers to get access to carefully and personally selected titles. Thing is, this new idea is a massive one and comes in the form of three key new features: The store itself, the Indie program, and the launcher.
First, let's look at the store itself. As of today, it has entered a closed beta for 50,000 Canadian Discord users, though they have to be subscribers of Discord Nitro in order to qualify. Discord Nitro is Discord's premium service, and as of the introduction for this store, it will now provide gamers with select titles to play at no additional cost. It's similar to how Xbox Live Gold works, or PlayStation's PlayStation Plus subscription service. It costs $4.99/month or $49.99 a year, but you don't have to subscribe to it in order to use the storefront. This upgraded Nitro service will start out offering games like Darksiders: Warmastered, Super Meat Boy, Saints Row: The Third, and Metro: Last Light Redux completely free. As for the store, rather than have every game available on it, Discord wants to make it a carefully curated shop with specific titles and recommendations based on player interest. As they describe it: "(It's) similar to one of those cozy neighborhood bookshops with recommendations about the hottest and newest games from us to you."
The store already has the support of publishers THQ and Deep Silver, with more to likely come in the future. Taking a step back from the more popular, what about the Indie games? Discord's answer to that is the First on Discord service. Indie developers who choose this service will receive funding from Discord to help make their games truly shine, in exchange for temporary release exclusivity on the Discord Store. After 90 days, the Indie game can then go on to other platforms. Considering how large of a user base Discord already has, it's a tempting offer for Indie developers everywhere, especially if funds are in dire need. This focus on Indie games can be seen in the currently available titles on the Store's beta: Frostpunk, Dead Cells, and Hollow Knight.
Lastly, there's the Discord Universal Library. Once out, this will allow players to use Discord to launch any games installed on their computer or device, even if it's from a different launcher altogether. Got a Steam game you want to launch but don't want to pull up Steam? The Universal Library has you covered. It's an interesting feature to add due to recent news of certain games only being available on company launchers, like Fallout 76. All in all, it's a lot of convenient new stuff to see, and it really puts Discord in a more competitive light next to Valve's Steam. Time will tell if these new additions push Discord on a comparable level with that. We don't yet know when the Discord Store and its associated features will release in full, but the beta testing will likely help that news get figured out sooner. For the full details on the Store and the rest of these new programs, make sure to read over Discord's official post about it all!