Discord’s digital game store, which first launched to just 50,000 users in Canada back in August, is now available globally in a public beta capacity, the chat company announced today. The marketplace, simply called Discord Store, is launching with 22 titles, including Team Cherry’s Hollow Knight and other indie gems like Dead Cells and Into The Breach. Five of those 21 titles are labeled “First on Discord” titles, meaning Discord is the primary distribution for those titles at launch.
Discord, a PC gaming-centric application that combines voice and text chat with a robust platform for third-party integrations, has been one of the fastest-growing gaming-centric companies of the last decade. It launched just three years ago, and it now counts 150 million registered users, many of whom use the app for chat and as a way to see what their friends are playing at any given moment.
Discord, because it controls so much of the social aspect of gaming, is now using its pervasiveness in the PC ecosystem to start competing with Valve’s Steam marketplace, which is far and away the largest PC game distribution platform. Discord’s play here makes a lot of sense: if it can bypass Steam, the company can be the one destination you go to buy games, launch those games, chat with your friends about those games, and talk with one another in real time as you play those games. Meanwhile, Valve has begun borrowing chat features from Discord to try and make Steam a more attractive place to spend time and chat with friends, instead of just a bare-bones game store.
Of course, Discord will need to court big-name game makers to support its platform, while many of the biggest publishers in the industry — like EA, Epic, and Ubisoft — tend to bypass any third-party platform in favor of making players use their own software. At the moment, the company is positioning its store less as a veritable Steam competitor and more of a carefully curated selection of games. The selection is driven “more by friendships and playing together than what is currently available in the ecosystem,” Discord chief marketing officer Eros Resmini told The Verge in an interview back in August. “Our goal with Discord is to bring players together — never to fragment or add friction to gaming with friends.”
As part of its global store availability, Discord is introducing a new universal library feature that will let you launch a game from within the Discord app, regardless of where it was purchased. Discord is also expanding its Nitro game subscription service. The service, which will now operate as a game subscription service similar to Microsoft’s Xbox Game Pass, is now $9.99 a month and comes with more than 80 titles. The cost is double what it used to be, but it still comes with all of the standard features — like custom Discord tags, higher-quality screen sharing, and higher upload limits — in addition to the new library of provided games.