Popular online chat and video service Discord recently announced its transition into the video game sales business with the beta launch of a new digital retail store.
The beta will launch in Canada to 50,000 randomly chosen users, who will be prompted to upgrade to a new version of Discord Nitro that contains access to a curated list of games and subscriber perks. The games will be displayed in a new tab that may be accessed from the home screen, dubbed ‘The Discord Store.’ The beta only available to Windows OS users.
Decisions regarding a full release date have not yet been announced as the company hopes to improve the store following user feedback. In an interview with Variety, Discord’s chief marketing officer Eros Resmini specified, “We hope to slowly expand the beta to test different markets, currencies, prior to full launch later this year.”
The retail store will provide newer titles and “games users may have missed.” To start, Nitro subscribers will receive free access to Saints Row: The Third, Metro: Last Light Redux, Darksiders: Warmastered Edition, De Blob, Tormentor X Punisher, Dandara, Kathy Rain, GoNNER, Kingdom: New Lands, System Shock Enhanced Edition and Super Meat Boy.
Titles that may be purchased out the gate include Dead Cells, Frostpunk, Omensight, Into the Breach, SpellForce 3, The Banner Saga 3, Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire, Hollow Knight, Moonlighter, This is the Police 2, and Starbound.
The decision to pursue online gaming sales is part of an effort to boost revenue while maintaining the integrity of the platform as a whole. Discord noted that it did not want to grow the platform by implementing ads or selling user data, which prompted the decision to improve platform cosmetics or content. Nitro was initially an attempt at cosmetics, with the addition of a retail store being the company’s first attempt at selling content to its 150 million users.
A system for game developers will also be implemented during the launch that will allow for the submittal of games for consideration in the store. Discord plans on taking 30% of all games sales, which matches the fee taken from developers on Valve’s Steam store, Discord’s most successful competitor.
Games intelligence company SuperData recently released a detailed report regarding Discord’s potential threat to Steam if the company were to enter the game sales business. Given the fact that Discord is currently far more popular among gamers for communication, it’s no surprise that Steam is attempting to upgrade its own chat system.