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Discord unveils new in-app apps, including games

Discord's upcoming features include an app directory and premium app subscriptions. They're being implemented to embrace the "vibrant ecosystems of apps" that have emerged on the platform.

Justin Carter

October 17, 2022

2 Min Read
Logo for the game chat service Discord.

Game chat app Discord has announced a series of changes coming to the platform starting on October 17, including an app directory and the return of in-app activities such as games and watching movies. According to Discord, 30 percent of active servers already rely on apps for their communities.

"We're cooking up all kinds of things to make [Discord] easier for developers, admins, communities, and all users to enhance and customize our platform," reads the blog. 

A Discord spokesperson confirmed that the app directory will feature a dedicated "games" section.

The platform previously attempted to integrate a game launcher feature in 2020, but axed the initiative after the tool failed to gain traction amongst users. 

All users will gain access to a pair of Activities respectively focused on in-app golfing and watching YouTube videos together. Members of the paid service Discord Nitro will receive extra Activities (poker and chess, for example), and invite non-Nitro members to play, similar to the Jackbox games. 

Multiple Activities can also be run at once on the same voice channel, and Discord added that it's invited studios and game developers to create future Activities. 

Discord is also making a change to Nitro with a second "Basic" tier, which will launch on October 20. Priced at $3 a month, Nitro Basic will allows users to use animated custom emojis on their various servers and utilize bigger file uploads for videos and GIFs up to 50MB. Extra Activities will be locked to the regular Nitro tier, which costs $10/mo. 

Last month, Discord announced it would be launching its own forum channels for servers to use.

Through the App Directory, server mods can implement third-party apps for news or upcoming releases (like a Netflix-themed app). Discord previously hinted at the inclusion of the feature in late 2021, and these apps can now be used without installing them via a third-party website. 

Discord confirmed to Game Developer that the app directory and premium app subscription will only be available on the desktop version of Discord. Denying access to mobile devices will prevent the company from having to wrangle against Apple's rules against in-app game stores on iOS devices.

With a renewed focus on apps, Discord is launching premium app subscriptions alongside the directory. Premium subscriptions will allow developers to use Discord natively to sell premium features of their apps, though this feature is currently only available to a small group of devs. 

"We want our platform to be a place where developers can explore their creativity, and that includes app developers who want to earn money."

Update 10/18: This story has been updated with comments from Discord, and one short correction. The Netflix experience on Discord will be an app, not an "Activity."

About the Author(s)

Justin Carter

Contributing Editor, GameDeveloper.com

A Kansas City, MO native, Justin Carter has written for numerous sites including IGN, Polygon, and SyFy Wire. In addition to Game Developer, his writing can be found at io9 over on Gizmodo. Don't ask him about how much gum he's had, because the answer will be more than he's willing to admit.

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