Who Else Forgot About the Discord Games Store?
I remember a time, before Epic Games Store Exclusivity Deals, before the great battle between giants for PC superiority. I remember a time when Steam’s biggest potential competitor was a chat platform with big dreams. I remember the Discord Games Store as a storefront.
Discord launched its storefront service back in mid-October of 2018, providing to its users a new way to purchase games. This came two months after the storefront beta launch, which also provided Discord Nitro subscribers with a library of shifting free games. The storefront was a developer’s dream come true. Discord was already a massive service, and now players could easily get their game onto a platform that provided a 90-10 revenue split.
So what happened?
Essentially, Discord decided that they wanted to go back to how they had done things, but not completely cut the idea of selling stuff through their platform. What they created was a system where, if a developer put forward a small fee, they could enable commerce on a server, and if that server was deemed acceptable by Discord, it would then also become Verified, and would appear in the Server Discovery section. This sounds like a fine and dandy solution, right?
Well, it wasn’t.
What Discord did by removing the storefront and replacing it with server-side commerce essentially removed the hopes of smaller, lesser-known developers advertising themselves with the platform. The storefront would have been the means through which someone could learn about a game they would previously not have been exposed to, but now someone needs to: A) Know about your game, and B) Know it is on your Discord Server before even attempting to buy it through Discord. The greatest issue this has, though, is the search feature. Discord’s search functionality, at the time of writing, has no means by which you can find a server that has a storefront on it. This means you have to, as previously stated, know which server you’re trying to find before you can go there and make your purchase, rather than simply looking through a catalogue of potential purchases.
What does this do? It makes Discord a platform to help further sell games with an already robust community, or it helps communities develop games themselves, or it allows for alternatives for selling a game if you have enough interaction with your community as a developer to tell them about the server. What this doesn’t do, though, is make Discord the storefront it said it wanted to try and create. While I don’t see anything wrong with their choice to step away from the storefront model, many community members see what has happened as a travesty, especially after such a short time as a real storefront.
What are your thoughts on the Discord Game Store’s journey? Do you think what Discord did was the best choice for everyone? If not, why?
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