Discord Moves Into the Mainstream

Change comes to us all, and, for popular gaming chat service Discord, the hope is that a few tweaks here and there will allow the platform to move into the mainstream and diversify its audience away from gaming.

Much like the efforts of Twitch in the past several years to move away from being a gaming-exclusive platform, Discord’s attempts to do the same is part of a broader shift in gaming media towards the mainstream in general.

“Games are what brought many of you on the platform, and we’ll always be grateful for that. Today, many of you use Discord for day-to-day communication. You’re sharing thoughts about books, music and art, creating servers to just be yourself and share moments with friends,” the company said in a press release about the pivot.

So, a chatroom service with fancy features? A forum with modern amenities? What is Discord going for exactly?

Let’s look at the press release discussing the change for clarification.

“We designed Discord for talking. There’s no endless scrolling, no news feed, and no tracking likes. No algorithms decide what you ‘should’ see. We designed Discord to enable the experience and feelings we wanted to recreate: being together with your community and friends. You’ve made your servers into personal spaces filled with people you invited and set the topics of discussion. Your communities all have their own rules and norms of engagement, giving people fun roles and adding inside-joke emojis.”

Looks like a chat room/message board to me, but with the Discord branding and user base, it could become so much more than that.

The company is almost pursuing a pseudo-social media strategy. Call it “Diet Facebook,” but what Discord is talking about, with the “community” and desire to fashion a “hub” for everyone, is nothing less than that. We know the company wants to move away from the video gaming niche or, at least, the perception that video games is what the company is all about. But what if Discord becomes one of the first major social networks out there dedicated to video games and the lifestyle? That would be a big development, but it’s not where the company wants to go…judging by this press release.

Yet that could end up happening anyway as more and more people log on and notice that Discord might offer a lot of options but its most robust content is in the gaming sector.

There is some reason to be skeptical that all of this will work out. Twitch, with Amazon’s push and money, is still largely regarded as a live-streaming service for gamers. That might change, but the battle is pretty uphill so far and the horizon really isn’t in sight. Plus, it isn’t like Twitch doesn’t have a lot of well-heeled competition in the form of Facebook and its properties as well as Google’s YouTube.

When it comes to big name services like Discord, however, the company seems to stand somewhat alone. Maybe there’s a chance it will all work out.

Do you use Discord? What do you think of the company’s proposed changes? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.

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