With millions of gamers throughout the billion-dollar gaming industry, it only makes sense that there be some digital space for these players to communicate with one another. Right now, the most popular one is Discord – a free chat software used for text, video, and voice communication.
However, because it is free, users often wonder how Discord makes any money. There are donations options, sure, but a majority of gamers won’t put money towards it. Even if they do, it’s unlikely to be enough to keep all of those servers running. So, how does the company make a profit?
Bringing In The Big Bucks
Well, Discord has over 87 million users. It connects with games, Spotify, and Twitch, so friends can see what you’re playing, listening to, or streaming. It’s a fantastic value proposition, and one person using it will lead to their friends using it, and then some. That said, the company has no intention of using advertisements to support the platform. Also, it doesn’t sell users’ data, unlike other online programs. Instead, it takes advantage of the following policies to profit:
Though entirely optional, Discord offers cosmetic customization features such as sound packs, skins, emojis, and more. They don’t make the Discord experience any better or worse for the user, but they do make it more fun. Plus, the customer takes solace in supporting the team and its platform.
Discord has all sorts of merchandise on offer. Trendy t-shirts, embroidered sweatshirts, and hats are all available to purchase. Of course, while a majority of users don’t get involved with this, those dedicated fans provide the company with a little extra cash.
Discord Nitro is a subscription service the company offers for $4.99 a month of $49.99 a year. Nitro subscribers can upload files of up to 50mb, create custom emojis, animate their avatars, and even screen share in 1080p. Also, users receive a unique Nitro badge to show off their support.
Though it is relatively new, Discord has a store where anyone can buy games. Those that subscribe to Nitro will receive free games monthly, but anyone can purchase titles through the Steam-like platform.
All games on Discord will be hand-picked, ensuring the storefront isn’t full of spammy games like Steam is. Instead, gamers can be sure what they purchase is of high quality. The platform will take a small cut from purchases, with the rest of the funds going towards the developer or publisher.
Despite all of the above options, Discord is also funded from venture capitalists. In fact, in December of last year, the company revealed a $150 million investment, with a valuation at $2.05 billion overall. This funding round was led by Tencent, Firstmark, IVP, Index Ventures, Technology Opportunity Partners, and Greenoaks Capital.
Of course, these funding options are just the beginning. Discord will likely reveal more ways users can contribute over time. After all, the company is just getting started.
Fortunately, as far as we know, Discord has no desire to change its free offerings. Anyone can use its voice chat and text chat platform entirely for free. Developers can also benefit from features such as Gamebridge which enables developers to tie their games into the Discord platform.
Also, Discord’s userbase is only going to grow thanks to these free offerings. Word of mouth is a powerful thing, and as users keep getting involved, they will continue to bring their friends along as well. Some of those users are bound to convert to Nitro subscribers and buy merchandise. Plus, other chat platforms charge for most of these offerings, so there’s little incentive to stray from Discord in the first place.