A message from our CEO about the next chapter of Discord, how we’re building an even faster, more powerful app to take us there, and a new look to match where we’re headed.

Discord just turned nine this month and we’ve had a lot of fun celebrating with many of you. Now, as we begin our tenth trip around the sun, I want to share what we’re focused on as we look to the next decade — but first, let’s travel back in time to when my cofounder Stan and I started this crazy journey.

Twelve years ago, we had a hunch that multiplayer gaming would be the future of entertainment and that people would need a well-made communications platform to talk with their gaming friends. With the explosion of mobile gaming, faster internet, and more easily accessible computers, we knew more and more people would be playing live multiplayer video games like we did, but wow! We had no idea how big gaming would become.

Today, gaming has become the largest form of entertainment in the world, bigger than movies and music combined, and it’s the fastest growing as well. It’s a major way people use their personal devices, including PCs, smartphones, tablets, or consoles. People of all generations are playing games across many genres, from Minecraft, to Overwatch, to Wordle.

Where we are today

Nowadays, Discord is used by 200 million people every month for many different reasons, but there’s one thing that nearly everyone does on our platform: play video games. Over 90% of y’all play games, spending a combined 1.5 billion hours playing thousands of unique titles on Discord each month!

When we talk to the people who use Discord, it’s so clear that it holds a special place in many of your lives, and that playing games together is a major way you spend your time with friends (not to mention other things like cooking dinner, studying for finals, or all the fun ways you hang out on VC together). 

A group of four friends hanging out in a Discord server called “The Crew.” One of the friends has their video camera on, while the other three chat along using voice.

The games we play bring us together, give us something to do with one another, and as a result, help us deepen our friendships. They provide us with a way to have fun with our favorite people, whether we want to relax and farm turnips or grind in competitive matches for diamond rank.

When I was a kid, that's why I got into video games. It was a way to spend time with my friends and family. It was kind of a niche thing back then, but I loved it. When Stan and I met, we realized we had this in common. Whether it was an endless “just one more round” of Street Fighter 2, microing Zerglings, or idling for hours in town in Final Fantasy XI, games have always been about deepening friendships.

The future of gaming 

We built Discord because we wanted a better way to hang out before, during, and after playing games. It’s been really cool to see how the way we played games while growing up is so similar to how people around the world use Discord today. Most people spend their time on Discord hanging out with small friend groups, containing anywhere from five to 15 people.

When we think about what the next ten years will be like and what people want from the internet, their entertainment, and how they’ll want to communicate with each other, it keeps coming back to gaming. There are a few big trends that we see playing out in the world that we are excited about: 

  • Online multiplayer games are becoming mainstream entertainment that everyone enjoys with their friends. Cross-platform play will become a prerequisite so people can play together, regardless of what game or device. This is already starting and it’s only the beginning. 
  • More people than ever will own devices capable of playing rich games with their friends. Mobile gaming will be a big driver of this, with faster devices and improved internet latency making richer games available in new markets.
  • New technologies will be a catalyst for creativity in game development and great ideas will come from many places. The big games will get bigger, and there will be an explosion of indie creativity. There will be more games than any of us could have imagined! 

What this means for Discord 

After taking stock of the world now that the pandemic is largely behind us, and learning directly from you about how Discord can be even more useful, we’ve recognized the need to narrow our focus from broadly being a community-centric chat app to being a place that helps people deepen their friendships around games and shared interests. 

We believe Discord can play a uniquely important role in the future of gaming. We’re going to focus on making it easier and more fun for people to talk and hang out before, during, and after playing — and we’ll help developers of those games bring their creativity to life.

What this means for users

We have a lot of exciting things lined up for the rest of the year. In the immediate future, we’re really focused on three key areas: 

  1. We know that getting to your friends and conversations quickly is the most important thing, so we’re working on making that as fast and easy as possible from the moment you open the app.
  2. Ensuring you can talk and hang out reliably – especially while you’re playing – means we’ll continue prioritizing the power of our voice, video, and streaming technology. This includes expanding more of Discord’s capabilities to more devices for cross-platform experiences. 
  3. After you play, you want to have more fun stuff to do, whether you’re chatting in a text channel, DM, or hanging out on VC. Opening up our platform to the creativity of developers is vital in making this happen. 

We’ve made some great progress over the last year or so in support of these key areas, including:

  • Doubling down on the speed, power, and reliability of our app: In the last few weeks, we improved video latency and reduced your Go Live stream lag, began to roll out an updated 64-bit desktop client, and more. We also heard you on the mobile app and just last week, merged servers and DMs back to one spot and added contrast and saturation controls, among other updates. 
  • Making Discord a place for cross-platform play: Discord is on Xbox and PlayStation 5. Along with showing what you’re playing to your Discord friends, we’ve added even more features to consoles, including the ability to chat in voice directly on console and stream your game on Xbox to Discord.
  • Creating more fun things to do with friends: Billions of sounds have been sent on Soundboard (quack quack!) since we launched last year, we recently added built-in support for Polls, and many of you have been sprucing up your avatars and profiles with our Shop drops.  
Three friends in an ongoing Discord call. One of the three friends has their camera on and is streaming Fortnite Battle Royale for the other two to enjoy.

How we’re supporting game publishers and platform developers 

Whether you’re a larger game publisher releasing console and PC games, or a developer who has built their own app on our platform, we’re evolving the way we can work with you. We recently announced a few things to help bring your creativity to our users, and we’re thrilled about the initial reception:

  • We announced Quests as a way to help game publishers bring their games to market and reach their players on Discord. THE FINALS, Genshin Impact, and PUBG: Battlegrounds players got to enjoy some of these quests, and we've heard great feedback from many of you. 
  • We also announced a new Embedded App SDK as a way for platform devs to bring new kinds of games and apps to market directly within Discord, letting players instantly enjoy with their friends. We've seen thousands of developers explore Activities, and there are some that we'll be launching soon that we're excited to share with you all!

The creativity of developers who build on our platform is endlessly inspiring. Our platform makes Discord a really vibrant place to build and bring people together, whether it’s around games or beyond. Viggle is the latest app to take off on our platform and we’re excited to see who shows up next.

Unboxing a new Discord brand 

Finally, I’m excited to share with everyone a refreshed look and visual identity to reflect the future of people playing games together. This new look celebrates the fun friends have together while talking, playing, and hanging out on Discord. You’ll see this in different places starting today, and we hope you dig it.

Over the next decade, we believe another billion people will be playing multiplayer games and enjoying the kinds of deep, rich experiences that we all have come to love. It’ll be more important than ever for us to provide a fast, seamless, and powerful service to talk with your friends before, during, and after playing those games, no matter what device you play on. 

As we build towards this future, we’re excited to continue to welcome anyone who has found a place on Discord to help them have more fun and build relationships with friends online.