Steam Competitor The Discord Store Wants Your Friends To Help Sell You Games
Discord's plan for standing apart from Steam is using recommendations to sell you games you might actually like.
Discord announced last week the launch of its Discord Store, a PC game-buying portal that'll include its own exclusive titles. The store, created by the company behind the gamer-centric voice and text chat app of the same name, will pack games from indie developers and at least one bigger publisher, along with a few titles that are exclusive to Discord's portal.
Previously available only to Canadian players, the new global Discord Store is all about curation. The company is hoping to put games in front of players that they're more likely to want to buy and play. That curation will be carried out by the Discord team, as well as through recommendations made by players' friends on the Discord service.
The store will also include its own "First on Discord" exclusive titles. There are currently five games on that list: King of the Hat, Minion Masters, Sinner: Sacrifice for Redemption, At Sundown and Bad North.
According to a press release from the company, the idea is to create something more akin to a local bookstore experience for the Discord Store. That's in contrast to Valve's massively popular Steam store, which might be better compared to a big box store, or even a whole mall. Where Steam provides players with a massive catalogue of just about every game out there, Discord is hoping a more personal approach will resonate with players.
Alongside the launch of the Discord Store is a new version of Discord's Nitro monthly subscription service. The current, $5 subscription is focused on things like controlling your Discord username and offering higher resolutions for Discord's screen sharing service. The new Nitro bumps the price to $9.99 and adds a gaming component: all-you-can-play access to a catalogue of about 60 titles from partner developers like Deep Silver and Double Fine Productions. The games players get access to through Nitro include This War of Mine, Metro: Last Light Redux, Soma, Wastelanders 2: Director's Cut, INSIDE, Galactic Civilizations III, and Darksiders II Deathinitive Edition.
The catalogues of the Discord Store and Nitro seem pretty confined at the moment, which means it's not likely to threaten Steam anytime soon. But Discord might be onto something with its focus on curation. Discovery of new games is a big problem on Steam both for players and developers, especially small ones whose games are lost in the flood of titles being released. One report had it that 21 games were released on Steam every day in 2017.
Discord claims some 150 million registers users across the globe for its app, so while its store sports fewer games, it's possible the smaller, more personal approach might be an answer for developers who have trouble cutting through the noise on larger portals. Both the Discord Store and Nitro service are available to users today.