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Discord is about to turn into a crucial tool for a variety of online content creators. The PC and smartphone communications app — that is primarily a means for groups of friends or fans to quickly get together for gaming sessions — is in the middle of testing screen-sharing and video calls. This new feature has rolled out to more than 10 percent of Discord users, and that includes me, your good friend and PC gaming editor Jeffrey Grubb.
Discord has already become a big part of my gaming life, but after experimenting with the video feature this week, I’m amazed and excited about how many problems it solves. And I don’t think competition from Twitch or anyone else could convince me to switch any time soon.
Let me explain how Discord’s screen-sharing works. You can tell if you have the updated version of Discord if you have a tab in your settings menu for “Voice & Video” instead of simply “Voice.” If you do, you can make a direct phone call to someone or a group of people and then flip on your camera. Once you make a call to someone, they will also get the video features. This enables you to start a simple video call using your webcam or, more important, it unlocks the screen-sharing options.
Screen-sharing is simple, and it just works. You can share your entire desktop, or you can choose a particular application to share. So if you want a friend to watch you fail at PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, you simply choose that game from the drop down menu.
What’s impressive here, however, is that the video looks great and transmits instantly. I tested it out with multiple people, and they had no perceptible lag between when I did something in a game and when they saw it.
I’m already thinking about how Discord will rearrange my workflow for producing livestreams, recorded videos, and even the podcast.
Instead of struggling with Xsplit, Hangouts, and Voicemeeter to have GamesBeat reviews editor Mike Minotti join me to talk about a game as I play it, we can just use Discord instead. Even for the GamesBeat Decides podcast, we’re going to start using Discord to bring the video into the livestream. But we could also use it to bring YouTube clips to show one another. Sure, Discord doesn’t feature built in desktop-audio capturing, but I was able to figure that out. And I can’t wait to start using this app to make better content.
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