Discord has a message for Valve and its Steam platform, and that message is ‘Game on!’ The popular online voice and text chat service for gamers is going to sell video games, just as Steam does, and Valve should take notice of its new competition. Why? Discord is not a small outfit—it currently has around 150 million users
There is an interesting rivalry brewing between Discord and Steam. Valve recently revamped Steam’s chat service to be more like Discord, giving gamers a one-stop-shop for buying games and communicating with friends. It added several nifty features, though whether users ultimately abandon Discord for Steam in the chat space remains to be seen.
Likewise, Discord is making moves to keep and grow its userbase. Discord is approaching this new venture slowly by rolling out a limited beta test to around 50,000 Canadian players. Those who are part of the beta will see an upgraded version of Discord Nitro that has access to a selection of curated games, in addition to the current subscription perks.
“They’ll also see a new Discord Store tab in the home screen with individual games for purchase,” Discord says.
Discord will look to make a splash by offering some indie games before anyone else. The company is billing the feature as “First on Discord,” and for the first 90 days, those games will only be available on Discord. The First on Discord feature is not part of the beta that is rolling out right now to users in Canada, but will be available soon.
Like Steam, Discord will also scan your PC for existing games to add to your library. You can then launch them through Discord, if they require another launcher (Discord will boot the other launcher an game, as required).
This is a big move for Discord, but can it really compete with Steam? That depends on how well its curated selection of games is received. One of the issues with Steam is that it hosts so many titles, it can be difficult separating good games from crappy ones. Discord will look to use its smaller catalog to its advantage, by promoting hand-selected titles.
“You ever been in one of those smaller boutique book shops with recommendations from employees written on little note cards? We love that hands-on personal approach to sharing great content with others. We think this kind of cozy neighborhood book shop vibe would be great for games. It reduces clutter and makes it easier to find what you want,” Discord explains.
“Alongside the upgraded Nitro, we’ll be launching a curated game store experience similar to one of those cozy neighborhood book shops with recommendations about the hottest and newest games from us to you,” Discord adds.
Let the games begin.