Discord reflects on 9 years, refocusing on gaming with a redesign

Chat and community platform Discord has announced plans to refocus on gaming with a new redesign. The company will rework key features like group messages, voice chats, video calls, and more as a part of the platform’s new look.

“After taking stock of the world now that the pandemic is largely behind us, and learning directly from you about how Discord can be even more useful, we’ve recognized the need to narrow our focus from broadly being a community-centric chat app to being a place that helps people deepen their friendships around games and shared interests,” said CEO Jason Citron in a blog post.

Jason Citron is CEO of Discord.
Jason Citron is CEO of Discord.

While gaming has always been core to the company’s roots, the company is leaning into the needs of its largely gaming audience. Of Discord’s 200 million monthly active users, over 90% play games.

In the short term, Discord plans to improve the speed, reliability and functionality of its app across PC, consoles (PlayStation and Xbox) and mobile.

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In addition to technical improvements, the company also wants to keep gamers engaged after play sessions end. Discord has developed and launched mini-games and other activities itself, but it plans to open up the platform to other third-party developers. Discord’s Embedded App SDK will launch soon, allowing third-party devs to bring games to market on the platform. For more traditional game developers, the platform also launched Quests to encourage players (and their friends) to try new games.

Discord’s refocus

Discord is reprioritizing gaming at a time where the platform is in a state of flux.

On the funding side, the company raised nearly $1 billion since 2013 and was valued at $15 billion at the height of the market in 2021. While Citron has reportedly considered an IPO, Discord’s profitability is unclear.

While Discord has experimented with new revenue streams, the company has also made cuts to “resharpen its focus.” In January 2024, the company laid off 17% of its employees to improve efficiency.

In addition to its capital concerns, Discord has also been under regulatory scrutiny. Citron was one of five tech CEOs that testified in a U.S. Senate hearing in January 2024 about online child safety.

Ultimately, Discord’s effort to refocus on gaming signals that the platform believes the path to profitability is paved through games.


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