Discord offers free VoIP servers, text and video chat, along with unique features for gamers like Twitch integration. It is also a must for doing business in the gaming industry and could give other companies a unique advantage in customer communications.

Discord offers community-driven communications

Discord is a free communication app, very similar to popular apps like Skype, Microsoft Teams, Slack, and TeamSpeak. It features easy-to-use text, voice, and video chat on public or private servers that anyone can quickly set up for free.

Discord UI

Discord has a similar user interface to Slack and Microsoft Teams, and its servers work similarly to Slack and Teams servers. However, Discord servers have developed more through user-driven activity, as Reddit has done with its subreddits. There is a Discord server for just about everything.

Like Reddit, Discord is an online community platform. It is being used for everything from large corporate platforms and specialized learning centers, to extremist recruitment and adult content. The Official Discord Parent Guide provides helpful resources for understanding how these communities work and how you can control the content that goes in and out of your Discord.

The Discord Community Guidelines convey the developer’s intentions to bring groups of players together and explicitly prohibit bullying, predatory behavior, and harmful content. It also gives you avenues to get more help on topics like bullying, suicide, and other topics relevant to today’s digital communities. But like any online tool, that doesn’t necessarily stop savvy teens from undoing setups or prevent bad guys from taking advantage of social media to spread hate and abuse.

Discord is for everyone, not just gamers

Discord is listed on most app stores as “Chat for Gamers”, and its integration with gaming platforms like Steam and Twitch has made it extremely popular with 56 million gamers each month. The ubiquitous nature of Microsoft’s Skype (and Skype for Business) has made it a common choice for voice, video, and text among average Windows users.

Microsoft Teams, which will eventually replace Skype for Business, features a high level of integration with other Microsoft applications, especially SharePoint, which has made it a leader in the business environment. Slack is the most common alternative because it has consumed other popular workplace communicators like Hipchat.

TeamSpeak has always been a major competitor due to its obsessive focus on sound quality, client security, and server reliability. Discord overtook most of the dominant tools currently used for gaming, including a good chunk of TeamSpeak’s market share.

TeamSpeak Beta
TeamSpeak

Discord features more diverse integrations and services, a friendlier user interface, and free servers, though the new TeamSpeak could bridge that gap by adopting and improving many of the same features that have allowed Discord to dominate. Other tools like Mumble and Ventrilo still exist, albeit only in small niches.

Discord versus Slack

In reality, Discord shares most of the features and integrations that its competitors do. Discord and Slack, shown above left and right, respectively, share nearly identical interfaces. This means that the choice of which app to use is decided primarily by the personal preferences of you and your group.

Discord is free for users, still cheap for professionals

A large company could use Discord as their primary communication platform, assuming the company does a good job of setting permissions, improving security, and increasing the limits imposed by the free version by paying just $99.99 for 12 months of Discord Nitro.

You can cut the price in half by opting for Discord Nitro Classic ($49.99/year). Classic does not include the server boost feature, which allows you to give a server special buffs; It’s useful if you’re a streamer, developer, or community leader selecting a space to engage with followers.

nitro discord

Both premium paid services (Nitro and Nitro Classic) are primarily aimed at gamers with features like higher quality streaming, custom tagging, and more. Free or paid, Discord’s extensive documentation will walk you through everything you can do with Discord. Create bots that help make your server unique, build apps, or leverage your open source tools to create a Rich Presence for a game or app that you can sell directly to consumers through your own Discord server. By taking just a 10 percent cut, Discord offers developers an even better deal than Epic’s 12 percent or Steam’s 30 percent.

Given Discord’s integration with countless gaming and media apps, along with a customizable overlay, it’s no surprise that most Discord users have it running in the background while on their computer. In fact, Spotify’s desktop music player accounts for more than twice the next highest activity for people on Discord according to Statbot, making it clear that most people have Discord running in the background while they browse, create play or work. The 10th most popular app for Discord users is Visual Studio Code, which shows how useful the app can be for professional collaboration.

Note: This isn’t data from all Discord users, but it’s a pretty large sample.

Discord is primarily aimed at people who play, stream, discuss, develop, or sell games, but it’s starting to evolve beyond that into a community-focused platform for tech-savvy business operators. Whether you want to coordinate with co-workers, friends or followers, it is becoming a popular solution for everyone through its simple interface packed with powerful features.