Discord is only for gamers

Discord: Communication app for gamers is becoming increasingly popular

Discord originally wanted to break the rule of Teamspeak as the preferred communication tool for gamers. In the meantime, however, the app has become one of the most popular among young people. But also for schools in homeschooling, Discord seems to be a possibility to network.

Meanwhile over 300 million users

Discord was launched in 2015 and is a mixture of forum, chat, live streaming and voice chat. The app has a success story to tell, especially in the pandemic. This is shown by the current number of users, which has increased rapidly. In January 2020 there were already 250 million, at the moment there are more than 300 million users on the platform.

Basically, Discord is quickly explained: Users can operate servers that are customized in a very short time with just a few settings and clicks. You don't even need the app, which exists for all common operating systems. Because Discord can also be opened via the browser, even if not all features are available. In addition, bots can be installed to ensure law and order on the servers. In addition, game accounts from Steam and Co as well as the Twitch profile and Spotify can be connected to the app.

The servers are very reminiscent of apps like Slack. A wide variety of chat channels can be created which, with a diverse authorization system, are either publicly accessible or only accessible to a selected group. This also makes it possible to orchestrate large numbers of users of several thousand members. In order to invite other people to the server, links can be generated that enable quick joining.

Use of the app is basically free of charge. But no company is financed solely by air and love. Investors recently invested $ 100 million in Discord, The Verge reported. In addition, Discord offers a so-called "Nitro subscription" for EUR 9.99 per month or EUR 99.90 per year. Every user is given the opportunity to upload larger files and buy personalized emojis. In 2018, Discord tried to get into game distribution via Nitro. For this they published their own store, which was only one year old.

Big increase in teenagers

Austrian youngsters are also discovering the app for themselves. According to a study by "Saferinternet.at", the app managed to double its use among young people in Austria last year. Discord ranks eighth with 33 percent, compared to just 16 percent in the previous year. With the current market share, only three percent are missing from the tech giant Facebook.

But Discord is also used in the time of homeschooling. The Viennese weekly newspaper "Falter" reports that homework aids have been set up on the Discord servers. A school spokesman from Zwettl also reports in the weekly magazine "Profil" that the schoolchildren organize themselves here. Still, gamers remain the foundation of the community.

The servers of popular games such as Fortnite, Animal Crossing and Among Us count most members. But the entertainers on Youtube, Twitch and other platforms have also discovered Discord for themselves. First place among the largest Discord servers goes to the game developed by Epic Games Fortnite, closely followed by the server of the well-known YouTuber "MrBeast". His Discord server "MrBeast Gaming" had just over 700,000 members in February.

Discord's structure has also led to right-wing extremist groups organizing on the platform in the recent past. For example, Martin Sellner, the Austrian founder of the identity movement, is said to have been active as a VIP member on a relevant Discord server, on which one arranged to meet for manipulation in social media discussions. But also in the course of the German federal election the network "Reconquista Germanica" was formed in 2017 via the platform.

It now appears that right-wing extremists prefer Telegram as a means of communication. Because servers of this type were all banned after a certain time as soon as they were exposed. Discord itself publishes a transparency report every six months.

Here you can find facts and figures on how Discord dealt with violations. Most recently, the "Wall Streetbets" server made waves after it became known that the Wall Street rebels were also forming via Discord. First, the company decided to close the server and then allow it shortly afterwards. Discord even went so far as to declare themselves a supporter of "Wallstreetbets".

Privacy problem

However, there is a fundamental problem with Discord. Because as soon as a user agrees to the terms and conditions, the result is that the chats made can be read, used and resold directly by the company. This has already been criticized by data protectionists. So it says in the terms and conditions:

"By uploading, distributing, transmitting or otherwise using your content within the scope of the service, you grant us a perpetual, non-exclusive, transferable, royalty-free, sublicensable and worldwide license to use your content in connection with the operation and provision of the service, host, reproduce, modify, adapt, publish, translate, create derivative works from, distribute, perform and present. "

Set up to offer the gamer culture a modern communication structure, Discord succeeds in increasing its clientele from year to year. It would be desirable for data protection concerns to be addressed on a larger scale at some point. (fpz 02/23/2021)