Becoming the quintessential communication app in the gamer world is difficult, but Discord has given us a master class on making it possible from scratch. And we are talking about an application that in May 2019 reported 250 million registered users, of which 56 million use it each month to send 25,000 million messages (850 million a day), and a capacity to withstand peaks of up to 9 million users at the same time.
Today we will review the fantastic career of Discord, the communication application of reference for gamers.
A lucky accident
Contrary to what many of us might think, Discord was not born because a team had in mind to create a messaging app. No, Discord was born accidentally since its creators wanted an efficient communication system for a game they had just developed.
It all started when Jason Citron, founder and current CEO of Discord, worked on developing the iPad game ‘ Fates Forever ‘ with Hammer & Chisel, his game development studio. Such a game would require players to communicate in real-time. Given this, the team found several problems with the VoIP options that were on the market then, either because they were too heavy, consuming a lot of resources, or presented security problems.
This is how they decided to create a chat application that those players of titles for mobile devices could take advantage of. The app offered a secure platform for voice and text messages as primary features, which even helped the Citron team communicate more easily.
The application was baptized as Discord, and the idea is that it was integrated into ‘Fates Forever. In 2014, after the game was released, the team failed to monetize its efforts and investments to further its development. But it didn’t stop them from shelving Discord development.
In 2015, Citron decided to launch Discord to the public as a messaging app whose strengths were based on low-latency, high-quality VoIP audio, thus offering a lightweight but highly effective option that was also free.
Initially, Discord had an overwhelming reception on Reddit, where many subreddits were looking for options to replace IRC servers. And this is where Discord had its first great success, which caused that by the beginning of 2017, they exceeded the figure of 60 million users and closed the year at 90 million.
But the above was not only thanks to Reddit, since, in 2016, Citron and his team had also raised their first 20 million in funding, in addition to an essential alliance with ‘Fortnite’ and Twitch, which translated into 8.9 million active users. Newspapers just one year after its launch. An atrocity.
By this point, Discord was already extremely well known and widely used in eSports and LAN tournaments, as well as by Twitch streamers, which helped catapult its popularity. Following this came partnerships with Spotify, Xbox, and various eSports teams.
This helped Discord raise $150 million in December 2018 and skyrocket its valuation to $2 billion. Remove a milestone for a messaging application focused on video games.
Designed to be valuable and free
The basis of Discord is in its guts since it is based on the Electron framework, which allows it to be cross-platform and available on the web or as an independent application on computers or smartphones. In addition, Discord has 11 data centers located in strategic areas worldwide since one of the main objectives of the app is always to maintain low latency.
Among the features of Discord, we find free voice chat servers, dedicated connections, direct calls, and support for video calls and screen sharing. It also has its free API, Cambridge, which allows game developers to add native integration to Discord.
Another of Discord’s values is that they use the Opus audio format, which is low latency and is designed to compress voice, which makes its applications extremely light, does not cover many resources, and allows interaction without affectations. And it is that in the end, the idea is that Discord can be an option for real-time communication in games, where lag is the worst enemy.
Much of Discord’s success comes from its freedom, ease of use, player-friendly options, and reliability when playing. But without a doubt, one of its fundamental aspects is its ability to support millions of messages and thousands of servers simultaneously.
Discord also has bots, which are easy to program and offer plenty of options to manage servers under a wide range of possibilities. Here we can have bots to automate tasks, moderation, create memes, and offer player or game statistics.
But perhaps the most important value is its price since most of the critical features of Discord are free, and its creator promises that this will always remain so. However, Citron has been looking for a way to monetize the application without affecting its essence, so it has introduced two subscription plans: Nitro and Nitro Classic.
These subscription services keep the main features intact, only adding extra features like a game store, as well as early access to some titles, including free games, badges, custom profiles, and just added faster servers. But the key here is that the platform has promised that “there will be no ads,” which is what users have fallen in love with.
The price of success
Like any application or service with such several users and levels of use, it is not without controversy where there has been harassment, attacks between communities, and servers dedicated to dealing with issues of racism, religion, or politics. Pornography, even some focused on white supremacy or neo-Nazism.
Given this, Discord has mentioned that those servers involved in illegal activities or violations of the terms of service will be closed. The platform also launched a 24-hour security service, where these activities can be reported for the Discord team to review and determine the action to follow.
Despite all this, Discord is highly recognized beyond video games, with communities covering hundreds of topics of all kinds. Today it has over 1000 verified servers, the most prominent being ‘Fortnite’ and with the promise that new things will come soon.
How to grow your discord server?
If you have just started in Discord and you want to grow your server, you should follow these simple steps:
- Be active: Keep it busy and have regular conversations, whether it’s a private or public server. Keep it easy and accessible for people to discuss what they want in the group.
- Buy discord members: Websites like galaxy marketing offer solutions for different social media. One can buy discord members on their site per their budget, which will help boost a discord server in its primitive phase.
- Choose an easy-to-understand server approach: If your server is not attractive and complex, people will not be interested in joining your server.
- Spread the word: Why not let your friends and family know about Discord? Once they know and understand how you can unblock social media without privacy concerns and with full authority, they will want to give it a try. Have them start on your server when they first connect to Discord.
- Use Google trends: A discord server thrives on the trendiest things. Use google trends to find out what’s hot right now and understand if it can reach your server.
- Prize system: If you have bigger plans to grow your server, you can also start a prize system. For it to work, it benefits the people who bring more members to their discord channel. This ensures that you focus on the content while others work for you to promote your channel.