Discord hosts dozens of Minecraft-related communities on its service, but it wants to give you an easy way to tell if you’re joining the Minecraft community. To help developers better reach out to their audiences, Discord is rolling out verified servers today. This will put a Twitter-like check mark on more than 100 official developer communities that are working with Discord.
Verified servers are critical to creators and players because more studios and publishers are using Discord to reach out directly to their fans, and strong communities are crucial to success in the nearly $100 billion global games industry. Gamers know that Discord can serve as a direct line of communication to their favorite creators, and the verified check mark can help them avoid the frustration of joining the wrong group. Discord understands that problem, and it is helping developers avoid it.
“When a creator applies [for verified status], we work with them to set up their server, train their mods, and follow our community guidelines,” Discord chief marketing officer Eros Resmini said in a note to GamesBeat. “We hope this helps players connect even more with the games they love on Discord.”
Discord says that this service is one of the best ways for developers to foster early relationships with the people who can turn into their biggest word-of-mouth champions.
“The idea for verified servers came from our personal experience as a game developer and from indies like Pocketwatch Games that use Discord to connect with early super-fans,” Discord head of publisher relations Andy Swanson told GamesBeat. “Supporting that kind of connection with one’s game community is so important, and we think this little addition will go a long way.”
Any game publisher or developer is eligible to apply for verification. They only need to prove that it’s their game, and that will unlock the special perks.
“Each verified server will get a customizable vanity URL [discord.gg/minecraft, discord.gg/clashroyale, or disgord.gg/squad] and a customizable join server page allowing them to add game art welcoming people to their server,” Swanson said. “When a player sees the server in Discord, it will display a badge indicating that their server is verified. The goal is to make it easy for game companies to point their community in the direction of where their devs will be — in their official Discord server.”
Minecraft publisher Microsoft and developer Mojang were already using Discord to reach out to their community. They ask fans for feedback for updates and changes, and Discord enables them to get that info back immediately and as the most dedicated players are experiencing the game.
“By having a verified Discord server, players will know that they are actually being heard by real folks who work on the game itself,” Minecraft community and programs manager Helen Zbihlyj told GamesBeat. “Official community channels, such as Discord, also give players a home base that they know they can always come back to for community discussion.”
That is one of the ways that I use Discord, and the service is emphasizing that factor with verified servers. For Offworld Industries, the studio responsible for the excellent military shooter Squad, this is a way to ensure fans can join their server without second guessing its authenticity.
“It helps to establish trust with newcomers and wary gamers alike,” Offworld Industries community manager Greg Huber said. “Giving it an official seal of approval means confidence — especially important when a frustrated player needs to vent or get help.”
That checkmark also, surprisingly, could work in reverse. That is, according to Clash Royale developer Supercell, it could give developers more of a reason to visit and use their own Discord.
“The verified server will allow us to communicate more clearly to players about what the Discord server is: aka, the Clash Royale’s Official Discord server,” Supercell community manager Timothy Smith said. “And hopefully this helps to intrigue more players to get involved We’d also like to spend more time there ourselves, so as the server grows it’ll make even more sense to spend time there.”
Verification also shouldn’t have any real detrimental effect on unofficial servers. This isn’t about punishing fan channels.
“Aside from the extra features, [developers] won’t [have any power over non-verified channels,” said Swanson. “The key difference is ensuring that a player knows where they can go to get real-time news from the game creators themselves as opposed to fan news from other sources.”