Discord, the gaming platform that is gradually turning into a communication hub, has raised $100 million to expand its function and services.
Launched in 2015, Discord has grown to attract millions of users who find its peculiar features including reliability, anonymity and focus on voice over video captivating.
Discord allows users to join a voice call at any time and type in various channels to communicate with other gamers. They can sit in a call and listen to music, mute themselves so they can’t hear anyone else when they don’t want to. People can appear online only to friends without speaking.
The platform has witnessed massive growth during the coronavirus pandemic, increasing its monthly active users to more than 100 million, a 47% increase since February. And it is expanding its services in countries where it had failed to flourish in the past, including the United States, Spain, France and Italy.
Discord uses Nitro, its subscription service that unlocks the use of custom emoji on the platform and livestreams at a higher resolution, to generate revenue. In 2020, it set to have $120 million in revenue, an addition of $50 million compared to last year’s $70 million earning. The platform is boasting a $3.5 billion valuation according to Forbes.
Discord has raised a total of $379.3 million including the new funding it announced last week.
“This is just the beginning of Discord’s journey to be a place for all of your communities to talk and build relationships. We’re around for the long haul. Many of you have already signed up for Nitro, which has taken off over the last couple of years, and our recent $100 million in additional funding will help accelerate our investment in the community, new features, and the company,” Discord blog post said.
As of 2019, about 30% of Discord users don’t use it primarily for gaming. It has overtime become a hub of interaction for many; parents, teachers, fashion enthusiasts, Korean pop music fans and a host of others use it to connect. And that poses a challenge of diversification to the platform as its audience grows.
Users spend 4 billion minutes in conversation daily across 6.7 million active servers. That means a weekly 26 billion server conversations across 13.5 million active servers. They are more talkers than gamers, and Discord knows that it is time for a change.
“As you have used Discord for more and more than playing games, our branding didn’t keep up, and the way we talked about ourselves sent the wrong signal to the world, making it harder for you to bring your broader community on Discord.
“Today, we’re inviting the world in to reveal what we’ve been working on, all designed to make it easier for you to invite your communities and friends to your Discord home. And this is just the beginning,” the post said.
Discord has complex features that throw new users off unlike other video platforms with fewer features and easy to navigate buttons. The CEO Jason Citron acknowledged the complexity saying: “We know that the first few interactions someone has with our service could be intimidating because Discord is complex with many features.”
The new round of funding means the platform will work to fix a lot of things, especially making more room for those who use the platform for communications.
“We’ve streamlined the new user onboarding experience and added server video so it’s easier than ever to get together,” Citron said “There are new server templates that make it super easy to help your friends create new servers. We fixed hundreds of bugs, increased voice & video capacity by 200 percent, and continue to invest in reliability and performance as our top priority.
“We’ve also made the jokes and references within the app less gaming specific to make sure everyone can take part in the fun and make Discord more welcoming. And we are launching a new website with a new tagline: Your place to talk.”
Citron said they have added things that are prompts and almost like conceptual road signs to help users understand some features that seem complex.
The platform doesn’t require users to verify their identities and also allows them to create private servers that can’t be searched. These features are believed to have made Discord a darling choice among white supremacists who have used it to host rallies promoting their ideology. Citron said the new redesign will involve rules that will rid the platform of hate and discrimination.