Discord has quickly emerged as one of the most popular chat apps for the gaming community in the past three years, attracting over 130 million users. That's a massive audience of potential paying customers, and today Discord announced plans to launch a new service that is sure to excite many of them. Discord is launching their own online game store!
While many see this as a move to compete with Steam, Discord isn't aiming for the same kind of massive, sprawling library. Instead, they want their store to feel more like "one of those cozy neighborhood book shops" with personal recommendations about the best games from the Discord staff. Discord is putting an emphasis on curation, focusing on quality, and looking to avoid clutter.
THQ and Deep Silver are the first two companies to pledge their support for this new games distribution platform (per a report by Polygon), and others will likely follow suit in the coming weeks. Discord is also partnering with independent developers on a new program called First On Discord, which is exactly what it sounds like. Discord will help bring in-development indie games to life, and in return, they'll launch as Discord exclusives for the first 90 days before moving to other platforms.
Discord is also promising one convenient library. Your Discord game launcher will be able to boot up any game, even if it requires a separate launcher. Discord can scan your computer for games, add them to the library, and launch everything from one place.
As NPD Group analyst Mat Piscatella pointed out on Twitter, this could be a game-changer. Even though Discord isn't currently trying to compete with the quantity of games on platforms like Steam, its 130 million strong user base means many people already have large friends lists built up on Discord. With many developers now opting to use their own PC launchers instead of Steam, Discord could see a massive spike in engagement.
For the time being, Discord is beta testing these new additions in Canada. 50,000 Canadian users can now see an upgraded version of Discord Nitro (their paid subscription service) that includes access to a library of games in addition to the usual Nitro perks. Eventually, this will roll out worldwide alongside the store, which will be accessible by regular Discord users and Nitro users alike.