How Discord Earns Money? Revenue & Business Model Explained

You must be curious as a business owner or just a user on how Discord earns Money? 

And, since it is a free platform and yet so successful over last recent years, the itch for an entrepreneur question must have been bothering you. 

Well, to begin, Discord is an online platform that allows you to connect with other gamers via text, voice, and video. 

It is the platform that runs on Android, Windows, Linux, macOS, iOs, and on web browsers as well. 

There are a total of more than 250 million users of their software as of July 21, 2019. Discord application is basically free to use except for their extra features which they charge for. 

What is Discord? 

Discord is an all-in-one voice, text, and video chat platform designed by gamers for gamers. It offers high-quality lag-free voice and video chat facilities. 

The high-level messaging gaming application is free and secure, also better than its competitors such as Skype and TeamSpeak. 

Image Source: PrintsPrizes

Discord provides a hassle-free communication experience for gaming and any community formation. 

The application allows users to create themed servers or join an existing one to connect to a community.  

Anyone with the invite or participation link can join these themed servers. 

The admins of the server can host various text and voice channels used by the members to discuss different topics. 

Discord was surely started with gamers in the mind but now various interest groups ranging from art, film, music to business and entrepreneurship are using the platform more and more. 

How Discord Started? 

Discord was founded by Stan Vishnevskiy (CTO) and Jason Citron (CEO).  The headquarters is located in San Franciso and publicly released in 2015. 

Image Source:  La Stampa

Before starting Discord, both founders already has great experience in the gaming industry. 

At the age of 26, in 2011, Jason Citron sold OpenFeint which is a mobile platform for social gaming to a Japanese game creator GREE for a total of $104 million. 

Vishnesvkiy also has even more experience in the gaming industry where he is playing Final Fantasy X1 for hours on daily basis. 

He came to be so expert in the game that assembled a team of 40 gamers eventually making them the highest-ranked team of the game. 

Vishnesvkiy played a significant role in their success by developing many software tools to organize themselves better. 

He further packaged further these tools and wanted to establish their business out of it. 

So, he went working for different startups in Silicon Valley until he was introduced to the soon-to-be-co-founder  Jaason Citron by a mutual friend. 

How Does Discord Make Money? 

The revenue model for Discord is still in the progressing stage. The brand doesn’t align with the idea of advertising on its platform. 

Also, they are against selling their user data and advertisements to fund their business. 

Discord have never an intention to make their users pay for their application anytime near future. 

Instead, they focus on creating their business into a semi-freemium business model where they will provide more and better features to users who pay for them. 

This also makes them stand out amongst other such platforms. 

Discord developers believe the advertisement to be quite intrusive for the users where selling user data will be a breach in the relationship of two parties. 

So they have chosen a plethora of Discord products & extra features above their free plan. 

Discord Nitro 

One of the primary revenue streams for Discord is selling their premium features and services to their users. 

Image Source:  Medium 

Offering an optional premium feature is a great way to generate consistent revenue without conflicting with your existing ideology to grow the brand in the right direction.

It also allows a customer to never pay a cent and still enjoy a certain section or aspects of an application. 

On another side, one can opt to pay and enjoy full access to the application or to the premium features and services. 

It was, after all, a  legitimate and democratic way for Discord to monetize its application without exploiting users or pressurizing them to pay. 

Here is the set of features/ benefits they are offering with Discord Nitro :  

  • It offers a more and better number of emojis along with features of custom and animated emojis as well.
  • Users can use animated avatars and claim a custom tag for them.
  • They get 2 server boost along with 30% off on extra boosts.
  • The profile badge of users will show how long they have supported Discord.
  • They can now upload 100 MB in size for high-quality file sharing.
  • It also features Hi-resolution video, screen share, and live streaming as well. 

The Discord Nitro costs $49.99 per year or $4.99 per month for the users who opt to access their premium features and server boost. 

So by giving more personalization, increased bandwidth, and faster services, Discord earns a significant amount of revenue from their selected premium users. 

Discord Nitro “Classic” 

Another revenue stream is the less expensive version of Discord Nitro premium services called Discord Nitro “Classic”. 

   Image Source: How-to Geek

For this “Classic” version of the premium package, users get all the basic chat features, perks, and benefits but without the server boost.  

Due to this, Discord has been a gaming marketplace giant more into a freemium model of business and revenue. 

Freemium model offers all the primary platform experiences accessible to all users whereas more premium features fall into the paid plan versions. 

It’s upto the users when or if they want to go for the higher membership plan or purchase additional features. 

Game Promotion, Distribution & Marketing

  The platform allows game developers to test and release their games on Discord. 

Discord encourages developers to host their games on their system. They are distributing, promote as well as market the games to exclusive discord users as well.

Image Source: Discord Blog

For Discord, the users get to access new and exciting arrays of engagement and entertainment. 

Game hosting has become one of the significant revenue streams for Discord. 

The platform offers a partnership to the gamers where they take a minimal percentage of the revenue from the sales they make.   

Discord, as amongst the most popular gaming platform for avid gamers, utilize on the amount and concentration of the audience they have. 

Discord Merchandises 

A small but yet quite significant source of revenue for Discord is their merchandise store where they sell branded t-shirts, sweatshirts, hats, and hoodies. 

Image Source: Twitter

Their brand merchandise gained quite popular amongst their avid users and community members as well. 

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