Sony has announced that it will incorporate the online chat platform Discord into the PlayStation Network by 2022. After investing in the app, Sony now holds a minority stake in Discord, with game experts hoping that the collaboration will result in an easier path to interaction between players on different devices.
The announcement follows news of Discord having rejected a $12 billion (£8.6 billion) offer from Microsoft to purchase the company. Sony’s investment is set to constitute part of a $100 million funding round by Discord.
Matthew Gribben, a mobile gaming expert, said: ‘Microsoft, Sony's only real rival in the console space, has potentially massively dropped the ball by letting Discord get away and now be tightly integrated into the Playstation ecosystem’.
Louise Shorthouse, senior games analyst at Ampere Analysis remarked that the deal ‘will improve the user experience for the players’, and added that ‘The partnership will boost Sony's reputation among social gamers, where it has traditionally lagged behind due to its unwillingness to allow cross-platform play’.
In a blog post announcing the deal, Jim Ryan, President and CEO of Sony Interactive Entertainment (SIE), said: ‘Our goal is to bring the Discord and PlayStation experiences closer together on console and mobile starting early next year, allowing friends, groups, and communities to hang out, have fun, and communicate more easily while playing games together’.
Discord is a free Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) and instant messaging service that allows users to chat on video or audio calls, as well as through text messages. Originally launched in 2015, the app is popular among players of titles such as Fortnite and Among Us.
An Ofcom report released in August 2020 showed that the service had been used by children during the UK’s national lockdowns as a means of keeping in touch with their friends, and noted that the platform is ‘known for being popular with gamers, and [is] often used alongside gaming’.
To read SIE President and CEO Jim Ryan’s blog post announcing the deal in full, click here.