Discord is well known as one of the most popular chat apps in the world and likely the primary universal one for gaming. It has become a common place for gamers to congregate and voice chat in and out of games and manage their friends lists across a number of different digital services. It now seems Discord is going to compete with some of those digital services directly.
The chat app is pursuing a store is aggressively curated, hoping to invoke a small town bookstore feel. In the same way employees of locally-owned bookstores write little suggestion cards on new releases and old favorites, Discord wants to create a digital games store that has games their staff likes. The store is launching with the following games:
- Dead Cells
- Into the Breach
- SpellForce 3
- The Banner Saga 3
- Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire
- Hollow Knight
- This is the Police 2
This is not to say Discord isn’t in it to win it, because they’re also launching an exclusivity program for indie games. The “First on Discord” initiative helps bring indie games to fruition in exchange for an exclusivity window of 90 days. Other publishers and stores like Humble have tried similar methods to varying degrees of success depending on the games in question.
DIscord’s Nitro subscription is also going to add a game library of curated choices, as well.
Perhaps most importantly for people who are using multiple digital distribution services, Discord is also launching a library aggregation service for the games on your harddrive. Discord will, at your request, scan for games on your PC and pull them all into one convenient location. So whether you’re using games on Origin, Steam, or any number of the other publisher-specific launchers, Discord can theoretically just bring it all together into one virtual bookshelf.
A lot of these features are just going into beta and plan to grow from here, so the company is warning that it is starting from humble beginnings. In a blog post, Discord also mentioned that they have hit a milestone of 150 million users for the service, which is certainly a good foundation to build from.
It is interesting to see another competitor go into the digital distribution arena by directly focusing on one of the most common complaints with Steam. It will be even more interesting to see how successful they will be at it.