Discord revamps its popular chat app with a handful of new features, including one that developers building tools for the platform have long wanted.
The changes aim to make the community building app a more versatile place to hang out, with new ways to customize the servers where hundreds of thousands of people regularly gather around games, hobbies, or even beloved creators.
Discord says more than a third of its chatroom-style servers already use apps, often referred to as bots. The apps, small pieces of automated software that run on Discord’s servers, provide utilities such as moderation, digital DJing, and basic games. Now the company is introducing a full directory of apps, improving the many bots and quirky bits of software that make Discord tick with a good directory.
Launching Tuesday, the app directory will give server administrators a one-stop shop for ways to build out their server the way they want. There is already an app for almost everything. A sneakerhead server tracking new releases can plug in the StockX DropBot app, while a role-playing community can play a text-based RPG together directly in chat with IdleRPG.
On Discord, apps were largely the domain of sloppy little developers who wanted to build useful utilities. But it’s clear that the company’s vision for its in-server experiences is moving in a more official direction, which could include more official partnerships with large, established software makers.
The company is also announcing a game expansion, introducing “activities” that bring more elaborate mini-games such as virtual golf, chess and poker to servers. While not limited to games — one activity lets users queue up and watch YouTube videos together — the new feature is designed to give server members more ways to casually hang out and spend time together.
Discord’s new business kicks off this week. All users can access Putt Party (virtual putt-putt) and the Watch Together activity from the jump, while anyone who subscribes to Discord’s premium Nitro membership can play additional games, including poker, a Pictionary-style game, chess and a Scrabble clone named Letter Liga. Users who pay for Nitro can invite non-premium members to play the extensive list of games, but non-premium users cannot initialize the full suite of new games and activities.
In addition to the app-focused changes, Discord also adds a new entry-level Nitro that costs less. Nitro Basic costs $2.99 per month and offers some core features for casual users, including custom emojis, larger file uploads, and a profile badge. The new tier was already available to some users in the UK, but will launch globally on October 20.