How Does Discord Make Money?

What is Discord's business model and how does Discord make money when the app offers so much for free? Is Discord's business model sustainable?

There is a strong case to be made that Discord is among the best VoIP apps on Windows, Android, Linux, iOS, and Mac, if not the best.

Discord is user-friendly, reliable, and convenient, especially for people interested in gaming and involved in gaming communities.

However, some questions are frequently asked about Discord. How does an application thrive while being absolutely free to use? How does Discord make any money?

It’s easy to speculate, given Discord’s continued success despite an absence of advertising.

In some cases, companies that have no obvious public business plan resort to unethical methods to make money, such as selling the private information of users or other sensitive data.

That doesn’t appear to be the case with Discord. In fact, the platform has maintained a positive reputation when compared to some of the most mainstream social networks.

Let’s take a look at Discord’s origins and how the platform has successfully generated money.

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A Free Communication Platform For Everyone

Discord was originally intended as a completely free communication platform for any audience. It has continued to be that throughout its existence, with a large emphasis on gamers for many years. It remains free, user-friendly, and rich with features.

It’s fair to say that Discord’s development team has delivered on every aspect.

Today, an enormous number of people use the platform daily, with many communities and businesses relying on it.

Discord claims an active user base of more than 250 million people, making it one of the world’s most widely used applications.

How is the company capitalizing on all of those users if everybody can use it for free?

Funding

Discord has a business plan in place, but it isn’t a plan that focuses directly on profit. This is one of the reasons the company was looking for funding options as it became more popular in gaming communities in 2015, the year the app was first released to the public.

In 2016, Discord secured funding of about $20 million from WarnerMedia. At the time, those funds were more than enough to sustain the application’s growth.

As the potential of the new platform became more apparent, several companies offered further funding. In 2018, Index Ventures, IVP, Tencent, Greenoaks Capital, and a few more provided funding of about $150 million.

Over the years, additional companies have invested in Discord.

A key example is Microsoft connecting their Xbox Live service with Discord, allowing users to communicate with Xbox players through the program.

In March 2021, multiple companies showed an interest in purchasing Discord outright. At the time of writing, the likeliest contender appears to be Microsoft, with a potential investment of $10 billion.

Current Business Plan In Place

Even without an acquisition on the scale of the rumored Microsoft purchase, Discord can now exist without the help of external investment or funding.

As of writing, Discord has a business plan in place, which comfortably maintains the company’s development plans, support teams, and its vast array of servers.

This business plan does not maximize profit, but it does provide Discord with significant revenue.

One of the key ways Discord generates money is with Nitro.

Nitro

Discord Nitro is a premium feature available to every user. It is by no means essential, but it does provide users with some notable benefits.

Nitro costs about $10 per month. Subscribers have the ability to use custom or animated emojis, an animated avatar, 1080p 60FPS streaming, up to 100MB upload size for files, and a few other benefits on top.

How Is Discord Funded Nitro

It isn’t bad value at $10, but the majority of users can use Discord without ever needing any of the benefits that Nitro provides. On the whole, Nitro creates a paywall that most users won’t feel a need to cross. With Nitro providing limited revenue, there are other ways that Discord generates money.

Server Boosts

Every Nitro subscriber also receives two Server Boosts and a discount offer for future boosts.

You might be wondering what exactly a Server Boost is. Discord provides the same benefits included in a Nitro subscription with a Server Boost, but those benefits are tied to a server, rather than an individual user.

Every member of a boosted server will have access to better streaming quality, larger file upload size, and other features while on that server.

Discord Business Model Server Boost

However, boosting a server is far more expensive than $10. A Server Boost costs about $75 to acquire all the features included with Nitro. Fortunately, users can pool together and invest their boosts in a server, dividing the cost amongst themselves.

Future Of Discord

Microsoft’s potential $10 billion purchase would undoubtedly have a significant impact on the future of Discord, and the platform’s users have understandable concerns. A corporation taking control of an open-source project can conjure thoughts of many unwelcome changes in the minds of its users.

However, Microsoft is known to allow subsidiary companies freedom regarding their products and services. If Microsoft does acquire Discord, it probably won’t have a major impact on the platform. You might not even notice a change.

The future is bright for Discord, which should continue expanding in the coming years with an ever-growing community.

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Branko Gapo
Branko Gapo

Keeping up with the incredibly fast evolution of computer technology is impossible. Branko aims to use his knowledge on this matter to share news and information on all the latest essential technological innovations and advancements.