By Marshall Wong
Have you ever found yourself binging your favorite TV show alone because no close friends or family members share similar interest? Personally, I’m an immense fan of the thrilling legal drama, Suits, but a few of my friends resonate with me. Now, imagine a platform where you can watch your favorite episode of Suits on a friday night with thousands of other Suits fanatics–– and you guys can chat, share, and even stream together.
Fortunately, such a platform is not merely a figment of imagination. Discord, which now has over 140 million active users and 19 million weekly servers––communities that contain multiple chat, voice, and video channels––is changing the way that people communicate. With customized chat rooms and specialty features like real-time audio and video conversations, custom emojis, and member roles that distinguish users; it has become the favorite social networking platform for younger generations.
Unlike most other social consumer apps, Discord does not generate revenue from ads. “The start-up primarily makes money through Nitro, a service Discord sells for $9.99 a month or $99.99 a year that gives users additional features, such as animated emojis and high-resolution video.”
Discord started off as a gaming platform, where gamers could communicate with each other via real-time video and audio. The platform has established meaningful partnerships with streaming services such as Twitch and popular games themselves such as Fortnite. Such strategic alliances allow Discord to grow at an extremely rapid speed.
Discord is also unique in its customized “bot-system.” To appeal to a great many of their tech-savvy users. Discord grants the users the freedom to customize bots, which are used for automating everyday administrative tasks, so that they can be as interactive as possible. For instance, the moderators of the Fantasy Football Chat server have built a number of bots that can recognize when the server’s members talk about specific players and pull up relevant information, such as a player’s most recent stats or information about their NFL contract. Such customization has attracted more than 8000 users to the fantasy football chat since its launch in 2018.
Discord also has a strict policy regarding languages. They have a “zero-tolerance” policy regarding users discussing politics, as they “realized that every time somebody brings up politics it just quickly devolves.”
Such success has attracted the attention of many big-tech companies. Back in March, 2021, Microsoft demonstrated interest in purchasing Discord for at least 10 billion, according to Wall Street Journal. Although Discord didn’t end up partnering with Microsoft, they have announced a partnership with Sony, which took a minority stake in the company.
Discord’s success is not unfounded–– it should be “attributed to its disruptive tech stack and uncanny knack of reading the audience’ pulse, thanks to the founding team’s in-depth knowledge of the gamers mindset and insight into industry trends.”