The argument that Discord is one of the best, if not the best VoIP app on the market for Windows, Android, Linux, iOS, and even Mac is pretty solid.
This communication platform is very useful, especially for the people invested in gaming and gaming communities.
However, the question is: How does such a successful application strive while being absolutely free? How does Discord make any money at all?
That is something a lot of people have been wondering.
And it is something that they should worry about because usually the companies that have no public business plan in place resort to sketchy methods for profit such as selling private user data or other useful information.
But, that doesn’t seem to be the case. Nor was that ever in the development team’s plan.
Here is what was originally planned and how Discord is bringing in profits.
A Free Communication Platform For Everyone
Discord was supposed to be a completely free communication platform for any kind of audience. And, that is exactly what it is today, with just a bit more focus added towards gamers (the gaming community). Still, it is free, rich with features, and intuitive.
It’s safe to say that the development team has definitely delivered in every aspect.
Nowadays, a lot of people use this application daily. Many people are reliant on it.
Discord is claiming an active user base of more than 250 million people. That is a huge number.
So, how is the company capitalizing on all of those people if all of them use it for free?
Discord does have a business plan in place, but it’s not a plan that directly focuses on profit. Because of this, the company was looking at funding options once it got a bit more popular around gaming communities back in 2015 which was the year the app was publicly released.
In 2016, Discord got funding of about $20 million from WarnerMedia. At the time that was more than enough to help the application grow further.
As the potential of this new platform became more and more obvious, various companies offered more funding. In 2018, Index Ventures, IVP, Tencent, Greenoaks Capital, and a few others raised funding of about $150 million.
Over the years, additional companies invested in Discord.
One example being Microsoft connecting their Xbox Live service with Discord, which allows users to communicate with Xbox users through the program.
In March 2021, multiple companies took an interest in completely buying out Discord. But, at the time of writing, the most probable contender is Microsoft, coming in with a potential investment of $10 billion.
Current Business Plan In Place
Even without Microsoft’s move to buy out Discord with ten billion dollars, the program can exist without the help of investment or funding.
At the time of writing, Discord does have a business plan in place and it comfortably supports the company’s development/support teams and the servers.
It is not a plan that maximizes profit, but it does bring revenue to the table.
One of the ways Discord is making money is with Nitro.
Nitro is a premium feature available to every user. It’s not mandatory in any way, but it does provide users with some additional benefits.
Nitro costs about $10 a month. With it, users get the option to use custom or animated emojis, an animated profile picture, 1080p 60FPS streaming, up to 100MB upload size for files, and a few more benefits too.
It’s not a bad offer for $10, but it’s not something that most people can’t live without. It is a paywall that most users won’t see a need to cross. This leads to the next point on how Discord is making money.
With every subscription of Nitro, a user also gets two Server Boosts and a discount offer for future boosts.
What exactly are Server Boosts? Well, with these, Discord offers those same benefits that come with a Nitro subscription, but those benefits are tied to the server and not one single user.
In other words, every member of a boosted server will have access to better streaming quality, higher file upload size, etc.
However, boosting a server is a lot more expensive than just $10. In fact, it costs about $75 to acquire all the features that come with Nitro. Fortunately, individual users can invest their boosts toward a server, sharing the cost.
Future Of Discord
Microsoft’s suitcase of ten billion dollars will surely have a major impact on the future of this application. It’s safe to assume that many people are afraid of this idea. A corporation meddling with an open-source project.
However, Microsoft is popular for providing companies with freedom towards their products or services. So, even if Microsoft does own Discord, it probably won’t have any major impact on the platform. At least, an impact that the average user notices.
The future is still bright for this app as it will continue expanding over the years with its ever-growing community.