- Discord is the world’s largest chat platform for gaming, with more than 200 million users.
- The company is now valued at more than $US2 billion after raising $US150 million in a new round of funding. It was last valued at $US1.65 billion as recently as this summer.
- Recently, Discord’s ambitions have expanded into selling games, as it gears up to take on the leading Steam PC gaming platform, as well as Epic Games – the new online storefront from the creators of “Fortnite.”
- In its time, Discord has also courted controversy: White supremacist groups reportedly used the platform in 2017 to plan the infamous “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville.
Discord, the most popular group chat program for video gamers, is now valued at $US2.05 billion after raising $US150 million in a new funding round, it announced on Friday. The round was led by Greenoaks Capital and also includes participation from Firstmark, Tencent, IVP, Index Ventures, and Technology Opportunity Partners.
Since its launch in 2015, Discord has drawn in more than 200 million users worldwide. The chat program offers a variety of impressive features for free, and lets users create and customise their own voice and text chat channels. It’s become one of the premiere places for online communities to gather. The company was last valued at $US1.65 billion in a funding round earlier this year.
Having established a huge userbase, Discord launched a new online store within the chat platform earlier in October. The majority of the games offered in the store come from independent developers, and Discord recently announced that creators would earn 90% of the revenue generated from each sale. Those who subscribe to Discord’s “Nitro” service pay $US99/year or $US9.99/month to gain unlimited access to more than $US1,000 worth of games from the store, and gain additional chat features.
Notably, this new store places into competition with some industry heavyweights: The Discord Store goes right up against Steam, far and away the largest PC digital games store, as well as the new Epic Games, from the creators of “Fortnite.” In a bid to win developer support, Discord and Epic alike are offering developers more favourable terms than Steam, which usually takes a 30% cut of all sales.
At the same time, Discord has courted controversy. The open and relatively anonymous nature of the platform has led white supremacists and other problematic groups to gather on Discord. It was reported that the white supremacist group behind the infamous Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia in 2017 used Discord to organise and plan.
Discord has tried to fight back against bad actors on the platform, banning known servers associated with white supremacy and hate speech, while also working to enforce terms of service that prohibit those behaviours. Still, those communities are said to still linger on the service.
Though the platform started as a niche app for gamers, Discord has secured a foothold as one of the most popular chat services in the world. As the platform continues to grow, the company will be challenged by a welcoming wider range of communities while working to stay true to its core userbase.
As for the future of Discord: It’s been reported that the company has been exploring a sale, though it’s unclear how raising this funding would affect its intentions in that regard.
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