Discord is a social network first. While the platform has a store and subscription service, it recognizes that most people come to it for communications. But now the chat/voice service, which raised $150 million in December, is adding in commerce options where they make sense: developer- and publisher-owned game communities.
Discord added verified servers in October 2017. These are official game channels that Discord vets to ensure they are owned by the real developers. This gives players a way to get in deeper with a fan community or to reach out directly to a dev team. And now Discord is beefing up verified servers with the store and news channels.
The news channel enables developers to push informational updates to fans’ activity feeds. Every Discord user has an activity feed that tells them what their friends are doing and what is going on with a game. Now, devs will have more control over the messaging on that screen.
But the biggest change is the store channel. Instead of forcing customers to click over and navigate a completely separate store catalog, developers can sell their game directly in their Discord server. This will reduce a lot of friction — especially for microtransactions or downloadable content. So no when a studio has something new to sell, they can help their biggest fans easily navigate that process.
“Discord is where gaming communities hang out,” Discord chief marketing officer Eros Resmini told GamesBeat. “When we launched the storefront beta last October, we wanted to experiment with commerce on our platform. What we learned was that players want to get content but they want it where they spend their time: in the Discord servers they love. With this change, developers now have a way to own commerce for their games lifecycle, everything from prelaunch alpha and beta builds to in-app purchases — all in their own verified server community.”
Discord, the game laboratory
In November, Discord opened its early access program for unfinished games. The platform is great for that strategy. The platform puts developers and their players in close proximity. That makes it easier to get feedback and to communicate.
And Discord has seen so much success with this that it is growing its service to cover the entire life of a game.
Developers can now use Discord to run closed alphas/betas, open betas, early access sales, launch, and post-launch operations.
For closed alphas and betas, developers can create invites or set up access for certain people in a server. Then for open betas, studios can open up a test to their entire community.
Once the game is ready for early access, verified developers can then open up their store. That should then transition to launch, and then post-launch where studios can sell additional content.
To get in on this action, developers just need to start the verification process. And then you can start monetizing your server like nature intended.