What Sony’s partnership with Discord means for you

Sony and popular communications platform, Discord, have announced a partnership. What does this mean for the future of the PlayStation 5?

CEO of Sony, Jim Ryan, has announced a minority investment in communications platform Discord. In a press release, Ryan stated that Sony was looking for “new ways to enable players around the world to connect with one another, form new friendships and communities, and share fun experiences and lasting memories.” This news comes as quite a surprise following recent talks of Microsoft potentially acquiring the Discord for US$10 billion.

At this stage, we have little information in regards to the amount Sony has invested. We do know that it was a minority investment within Discord’s Series H round which raised US$140 million. We also have very little information as to what the nature of the investment is, and how this will play into the PlayStation 5 post-launch support roadmap.

Discord server screenshot
Image: Protocol.

We hope to see more integration into the PlayStation 5 console, possibly as a full systemwide chat alternative with similar server hosting functionality as found on the PC versions of Discord. Many users are anticipating that this won’t be a repeat of Microsoft’s attempt at partnership with Discord, which only introduced the ability for users to see what their friends were playing.

For those wondering how Discord is able to attract such lucrative offers, it’s because it offers users an intuitive way to engage in low latency cross-platform communications. This will become hugely integral to the user game experience with the rise of crossplay in next-gen consoles.

Discord has over 140 million active monthly users, which it monetises by offering a premium service called Nitro for US$9.99/month. This upgrade allows users better video chat resolution, higher levels of customisation, and the ability to create multiple servers.

Furthermore, with the rising popularity of live streaming on websites such as Twitch, streamers are introducing ways for their communities to hang out whilst they’re offline. In Q4 2020, 5.4 billion hours were watched on Twitch, compared to 1.9 billion on YouTube and 0.9 billion on Facebook.

Discord’s server building features allow these growing streamers to create these spaces at very little upfront costs, and many have found great success in doing so.