Discord finds chat market niche

Vinny White
Staff Writer

Chatting services are a growing market. Ask anyone at the school and they probably consistently use one or even multiple services. Snapchat, iMessage, Instagram, and so many others are downloaded on the phones of the students in this school. But now, if you delve deep into the crevices of the app store, you will find a new contender, Discord.

Discord is a chatting site and app that is primarily used by the video game community. Released in 2015, Twitch creators and other video game playing folk quickly adopted it for arranging tournament and casual online play. This prompted Discord to become a very video game-centric company, adding inside jokes in loading screens, changing their motto to “Chat for g*mers.” Now, this raises the question, “Why is Discord popular in the video game community?”

Discord is generally regarded as a very convenient and versatile option for talking and managing online communities. You can assign roles to make a mini government of sorts, you can split up conversations into different chat boxes called “channels,” and you can have high quality video and audio conversations, all for free. This is only the beginning of the many reasons people like Discord.

Lately, Discord has become less video game-centric, changing their slogan to “your place to talk” due to the growing number of people not using it just for video games. This has led to a lot of concern in the video game community, as it has made many feel like less of their needs and requests will be met. It wasn’t just a simple slogan change either, it was also a full-on logo and marketing rehaul which removed a lot of the inside jokes and brought on a new color scheme and art style that to many, screams “basic.”

It doesn’t help their case when every update they lock more and more features behind the 50 to 100 “Discord Nitro” pay wall. Many of these features are cosmetic (like having an avatar that’s a GIF) which means that the people who don’t want to pay don’t care too much about not having them. Of course, the more features added to Nitro, the less focus goes to the core chatting experience

“Some of my best times were actually on Skype and Google Hangouts, I feel like Discord generally came in second place,” sophomore Carter Schlessman, a user since 2015 said. “They haven’t changed anything in the last six years.”

One of the Nitro features that is yet to be added to the core free service are larger file sizes, as Discord’s max file size is only 8MB. This doesn’t seem like too big of a deal until you realize competing services like Facebook Messenger (the messenger that Instagram uses) has a max file size of 25MB, Snapchat which has a max file size of 32MB and Google Chat’s 200MB!

Discord has remained a very consistent voice in the video game, content creation, and general use communities. But while it may seem like a large company, it’s still a startup at heart that’s yet to turn a profit. This has started a debate of sorts. People like sophomore Juliette Shuba say that Discord will rise “pretty high” in popularity, remaining optimistic for its future. While others, like sophomore Aiden Gaspard, believe “it had its peak during the pandemic”.

Discord is at a pivotal point in its future, but, regardless of its problems, it is an incredibly versatile and helpful tool for many, seamlessly uniting people from across the globe for easy conversation and public discourse.

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