As of summer 2020, Discord the company was valued at $3.5 billion, with an estimated revenue of $120 million for the whole year. The question is, how does a platform which is free in its basic form generate this much revenue? Below we will discuss the various sources of cash flow for the business, their current level of importance, and how important they may be to the business going forward.
Nitro and server boosting are the biggest source of revenue for Discord. Nitro is essentially the premium subscription version of Discord that comes in the regular Nitro option and also Nitro Classic, which is a more stripped down and slightly cheaper version. Server boosts are a way for you to improve the general user experience on a specific server for all the members, not just yourself, and are a great way to contribute to online communities you are part of. Both Discord Nitro and Server Boosting come in the form of monthly subscriptions. Follow the links below for WePC articles on both of these subjects if you want more information:
Cosmetic upgrades and items don’t offer any practical use, but they are a way for people to feel more creatively involved in their online communities and generally enhance their user experience. These include custom emojis, skins, sticker packs and sound packs. As shown by popular free2play online games such as Fortnite, CS:GO and DOTA 2 etc. cosmetic items can be big earners for companies that have large and enthusiastic user bases.
In August 2018 the Discord Game Store came online for a global audience. As the name suggests this allows people to buy games via the Discord app. Game developers can self-publish their games on the platform for 90% of the revenue, Discord themselves getting the remaining 10% – potentially a very good deal for indie game developers looking to market their product. The crucial advantage for Discord, besides the 10% cut, is that they get exclusive rights to sell the game. The game store is likely to be an increasingly important part of the Discord business model in the future.
This particular revenue stream is no longer active: Up to 2015 Discord did have an active merch store where you could buy Discord branded clothing, plush toys, and the like, however since then the store has been inactive. The only real way you could pickup Discord branded merchandise was through giveaways and events organised by the company. For December 1st 2020 Discord did run a temporary “pop-up store” at https://discordmerch.com/ but these were items that Discord said they didn’t actually want people to buy, but to try and win as part of their Snowsgiving charity fundraising event. You could of course directly buy the items, assuming you were willing to cough up the princely sum of $10,000 for a sweater.
It is unclear if Discord intends to open up a dedicated merchandise store at some point in the future, certainly there is a market among its hundred of millions of users. For now at least it seems that the company is focusing its attention elsewhere.
This has been a brief discussion of how the online communication platform Discord makes money. We hope this has been informative for you. If you are interested in learning more about the platform please check out the other articles by WePC concerning Discord.