The Small Business Times

How Does Discord Make Money?

The increase in its popularity as everything moves online makes one wonder how Discord makes money. It used to be the go-to platform for gamers to come together and chat with one another. And now, Discord has expanded its reach to include a diverse online community.

You may be inclined to think that a prominent social platform like this will use ads to make a profit. However, you’ll come to learn that the platform is completely ads-free when you investigate how Discord makes money. In fact, Discord makes its money through services like platform subscriptions, game distribution, and server boosts. 

But there are perks and extras associated with these services, which makes Discord such an appealing platform. So, let’s dig a little deeper to discover more about the platform and exactly how Discord makes money.

What is Discord?

Discord was launched in 2015 in San Francisco by co-founders Jason Citron and Stanislav Vishnevskiy. Their primary objective at the start was to provide a platform for gamers to chat and live stream. 

However, Jason and Stanislav realized that there was a communication gap when gamers came together. And, as a result, they developed a free and secure gaming app where anyone can interact.

Today, Discord is a platform where people engage in text, voice, and video chats under one roof. It’s now an app where both gamers and non-gamers socialize, work, and connect. 

With this app, people can organize community events, study groups, meetings, and even watch movies together. What’s more, the app is compatible with desktop and mobile devices and both Android and iOS software.

Through Discord, users organize themselves in Discord Servers that function similar to Slack groups. Each server has several channels which allow them to discuss and coordinate various topics. 

It’s interesting to note that a single user can join as many as 100 servers. And there are both public and private servers available. You can join a public server via a link and a private one by invitation only, which requires approval.

Discord is incredibly appealing because it is free to users and doesn’t distract or irritate users with ads. Another benefit is that you can integrate Discord with other platforms such as Spotify or YouTube and share content on it. 

Exploring How Discord Makes Money

As mentioned, Discord does not profit from ad revenue at all. Discord’s co-founders intentionally pursued a business model that does not rely on monetizing their user’s data. In fact, they’ve even turned down a $12B acquisition offer from Microsoft to preserve this vision. For this reason, and more, Discord sets itself apart from other social apps like Facebook.

That said, there are 3 primary services offered by the platform, which is how Discord makes money.

Nitro Subscriptions

Discord introduced Nitro subscriptions in 2017 as its first revenue source. It is an optional service that allows users to build a personal profile with the following privileges: 

  • Custom tag containing your preferred number  
  • Animated icon on your profile
  • Custom emojis
  • Unique Nitro profile badge
  • A higher upload limit, and you can share files and images up to 100MB with Nitro
  • High-quality screen share (higher resolution of 720p or 1080p) for effective chats.
  • Free live streaming

The Nitro package goes for $9.99 per month or $99 per year. The platform also offers users a cheaper version known as Nitro Classic that costs $4.99 per month or $49.90 per annum. Users have the option to test this service for 30 days free of charge and cancel it at any time. 

Even though the company does not disclose how many users have subscribed to Nitro, it earns a great deal of money from loyal fans who support it.   

Game Distribution

As Discord continued to grow, it created different ways to earn revenue. In 2019, online games were incorporated into the Discord business model. This is where the app partnered with game developers looking to sell their games through the Discord platform. The idea came after the company’s Steam-like digital game store failed. 

Now, Discord receives 10% on every game sold through this revenue channel. And developers take home the remaining 90%. As a result, facilitating the sale of these games is another example of how Discord makes money. 

On the other hand, game studios use Discord servers to keep in touch with their customers and make important announcements. For example, SNK, a Japanese game developer, uses its Discord server to reach out to its fans. 

And Bethesda, a US video game company, closed its forums and moved its conversations with gamers to their preferred Discord servers. Rocketeer and Valko game studios also use Discord to communicate with their fans. 

Server Boosts

Discord also offers a premium service known as server boosting. It involves paying a fee to improve the functionality and the performance of the Discord server.

Any Discord user can boost their server through one of three levels available. Each of the three comes with unique perks as follows: 

Level 1 Perks

  • More than 50 opportunities to use emoji’s
  • High audio quality (128 Kbps) 
  • Boosting of Go live streams to 720P 60FPS
  • A custom server invite background
  • Server icon with animation

Level 2 Perks

  • Everything in Level I plus
  •  More than 50 opportunities to use emoji’s
  • Higher audio quality (256 Kbps) 
  • Boosting of Go live streams to 1080P 60FPS
  • A server banner
  • Servers have an 50MB upload limit for all members

Level 3 Perks

  • Everything in Level 1 and Level 2 plus
  • More than 100 opportunities to use emoji’s
  • Highest audio quality (384Kbps) 
  • Servers have a 100MB upload limit for all members 
  • A vanity URL

To unlock the level 1 perks, a user must have two users on the server paying a subscription fee. For level 2 perks, you must purchase 15 boosts. And Level 3 requires a total of 30 boosts. 

Fortunately, these premium features are available as long as you are on the Discord server, even if you aren’t paying for the service.  

The cost of a Discord server boost is $4.99 per month. However, if you have a Nitro subscription, you will receive a 30% discount on the fee. 

Conclusion

Discord is a solution for both gamers and non-gamers who want to interact effectively as communities. It provides a channel for text and video chats among users across the globe. And it is convenient and friendly since there are no annoying ads. 

Through the unique Discord business model, the company has earned revenue to maintain operations since 2015. As the revolution keeps happening, Discord will continue to discover and embrace new ways to earn more revenue. 

It will be interesting to see how Discord’s net worth changes over the coming years.