Steam, the largest games marketplace, is expanding its own social features , likely in an effort to compete with Discord.
It's not a game anymore
Meanwhile, in response to Steam's near-monopoly in PC game sales, the gaming store ecosystem has expanded rapidly in the past few years, with larger publishers like EA and Ubisoft launching their own stores, as well as smaller, indie-friendly outfits like GOG and itch. These moves have only increased as Steam itself has become unwieldy, marred by stories about questionable curation and discovery woes. It's exactly that discovery issue that Discord is seeking to address. Citron hopes the store will allow the social functions of Discord, which already allow users to see what their friends are playing, to facilitate that process—turning community interest into sales.
Games have always been central to Discord's feature rollout, and various small touches, like gaming-related memes that run as messages when the program starts, reinforce the idea of Discord as a service created by and for the gaming community. The founders were all ex-game developers.
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The new shop will be positioned similarly. Discord will also be helping its "First on Discord" titles gain a foothold with consumers, offering marketing support and in some cases financial backing to get the games to market. After the initial exclusivity period is over, creators will be free to publish on whatever storefront they choose.
While the initial store offerings have been hand-picked by Discord, Citron says that developers will be able to pitch their own games to the platform, where they will be screened and selected in what he called an "editorial" process. In this way, Discord hopes to source compelling content while also avoiding issues regarding censorship and removal of certain types of content that have plagued platforms like Steam. Additionally, in a page taken from console services like Xbox Live Gold and PlayStation Plus, Discord will be offering games for download to members of its premium subscription tier, known as Nitro.
Both the Nitro library and the store will roll out first to a small beta group of about 50, users in Canada, chosen at random.
The update will also allow all games on a player's computer—including those purchased on other storefronts and launchers—to be added to a single game library on Discord. All a player would need to do to play games is, theoretically, just launch Discord. The obvious aim here is to monetize Discord—a company that, other than revenue from its Nitro subscribers, seems to be funded largely by investment money. Not only are its chat and messaging services free, but unlike many social platforms, Discord doesn't serve ads to its users.
I played through the whole of The LEGO Movie Videogame with my oldest son, and we both adored its humor and simple, building-block puzzling—but there it is with a metascore of Like Remember Me , its near-future-Tokyo setting is excellent and its action incessant, but a few minor shortcomings saw it saddled with a 74 on GameRankings.
Sales were low, with only 20, copies sold in two months of US retail. Most likely fuck-ups are aborted long before the public gets wind of them. In its time, the massively popular Wii played host to some spectacularly awful games.
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I guarantee you that playing Octodad will make your life better for half an hour—and if you spent those same minutes on Destiny , you might not even get beyond its hypnotic menus. So, go on, embrace the mid tier, and brave some of its yellows. Follow Mike Diver on Twitter.
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