October 17, 2018 // 11:31 a.m.
Popular gaming-focused chat service Discord has officially launched the Discord Store, an attempt to take on the mighty Valve and its Steam digital distribution platform, in worldwide beta form.
Announced earlier this year, the Discord Store is exactly what its name implies: a digital distribution platform run by chat service Discord which provides access to games. Unlike Valve's Steam, which prides itself on quantity, Discord is taking a different approach: Quality, it claims, is the key, with the Discord Store offering a hand-curated selection of 'good' games which 'makes it easier to find good games because these games are good'.
That hand curation comes at an obvious cost: At launch, in its current beta form, the store only has around 20 games available. Some of these are what the company calls First on Discord titles, 'which means they’re exclusive on PC to Discord for usually 90 days' - though, the company clarifies, this temporary exclusivity doesn't extend to console launches.
A more interesting feature is an expanded Discord Nitro, which for a $9.99 monthly fee provides access to a 'growing library of critically acclaimed games we think you and your friends should play'. At present, that library is some 60 titles strong - 'a total value of over $1,000', the company boasts. For those who already used the Nitro subscription service, Nitro Classic at $4.99 includes the traditional Nitro features including animated chat avatars and a larger file upload limit.
Discord appears to be aware that having yet another store with yet another launcher on the market is a tough sell, and has opted to position its software as a 'universal library'. 'If you want, Discord can scan your computer for games,' the company explains. 'Then, you’ll be able to launch any of your games through Discord even if they require another launcher (Discord will boot the other launcher and game). This way, you don’t have to worry about which game boots from where!'
The beta is live now on the Discord website.