The Rise of Discord

What is Discord and why is everyone talking about it?

Discord has grown massively during the pandemic, moving from a glorified gaming chatroom to a universally used communications tool. But what exactly is Discord and how do we at Project N use it?

What is Discord? 

Discord is a voice, video, and text application that allows people to create communities, groups and servers with their friends and followers. The best bit? It’s free. 

First launched in 2015, Discord was created mainly for people to communicate whilst playing PC games, with individuals using the application to instant message and talk using voice chat. 

Since its rebrand in 2020, it has expanded massively and its audience size has grown, with over 6.7 million active servers and over 140 million active monthly users. It is most prominently used to set up small groups and communities based around certain games or other interests.

As most communities are invite-only, Discord allows for safe spaces to discuss topics and to share experiences, hobbies, and interests but there are also huge and open communities that are generally around specific games or series such as Minecraft and Elden Ring

Discord has a high-quality, low latency voice chat which makes it popular with streamers and podcasters and even though it’s classed as a social media platform, they’ve made a point of staying away from feeds, algorithms, and like-buttons. 

If we step back in time a few years, you may (or may not) remember similar applications that were made with gamers in mind, such as Ventrilo or TeamSpeak, both of which are still in action today but didn’t quite catch on as much as Discord. Discord trumped both these applications by growing along with its audience, becoming a smoother and more robust user experience as more users joined the service.

User Experience

Discord’s user experience is clean and most importantly, it’s easy! 

During the pandemic, companies such as Skype and more predominately Zoom were being used to host family quiz nights, company calls, and regular catch-ups with Grandma but it seemed that these services couldn’t quite keep up. Zoom would time-out after 40 mins and leave people wanting more (and having to pay), whereas Skype struggled with video capability when more than 10 people were included. Where these apps struggled, Discord rose to the challenge. The key was, that it was already built with longevity in mind. Being able to cater for larger amounts of people, via text, audio and video.  Video calls weren’t capped, text channels stayed open and all that was required for a voice call? A headset and dropping yourself into the channel. 

Further innovations

One thing that makes Discord such an exciting platform is its constantly evolving nature. As its popularity has increased further use cases have emerged catering to all sorts of users, from D&D players to Vtubers. When real-life hangouts were prohibited due to the pandemic, Discord allowed communities to grow and stay in touch around all sorts of topics from the world of gaming and beyond. And when something hasn’t worked, Discord has rolled back their decisions – most notably their foray into storefront-ery, which was halted after poor feedback.

Recently, Project N has added Discord to our list of catered-to platforms, having set up the official Discord server for Bandai Namco’s megahit Elden Ring. The server, now 85,000 users strong (and constantly growing!), has played host to thousands of memes, debates, and off-topic chats among fans of Fromsoftware’s latest games, and is only getting more exciting as players share tips and discoveries from the launched game. After the fabulous success of this project, we can’t wait to take these learnings to even more game franchises in the future.

Discord is showing no signs of slowing down in 2022. With the recently announced integration with the PlayStation consoles, we expect the user base to continue to grow and diversify both in the world of gaming and beyond. To find out how we can help set up or grow your own Discord server, get in touch with Project N today.