Discord Partners With Sony to Boost PlayStation Social Audio
Sony Interactive Entertainment has announced a partnership with Discord to upgrade social interactions on Sony PlayStation’s network. Discord’s social audio and text-based chat will augment Sony’s existing tools and Sony is investing an undisclosed sum and taking a minority stake in Discord as part of the deal.
The arrangement is kept vague in Sony’s announcement, but the plan appears to be to add features from Discord to the PlayStation platform on consoles and mobile devices beginning next year. Based on the obvious ways Discord’s products could complement PlayStation, it’s likely to create a kind of portal to Discord’s communication platform, possibly including branding, but set within the existing chat system on PlayStation. The biggest potential boon to PlayStation players is in voice chat. Sony has a fairly basic social setup, especially compared to the complex mixture of channels provided by Discord. Discord already has a video game focus and boasts 140 million monthly users spending up to four hours a day on the platform. Sony likely sees the value of that kind of consumer approval if it were applied to its video games. It would certainly simplify the communication between PC and PlayStation players on games the encompass both platforms.
“At PlayStation, we’re constantly 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. It’s in this spirit that we’re excited to announce a new partnership with Discord, the communication service popularized by gamers and used by more than 140 million people every month around the world,” Sony Interactive Entertainment CEO Jim Ryan explained in a blog post. “Together, our teams are already hard at work connecting Discord with your social and gaming experience on PlayStation Network. 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.”
Last summer, Discord began a major overhaul of its social audio aspect specifically, making it easier for people to join and chat with each other, even if the topic isn’t video games. Discord raised $100 million at a $7 billion valuation in December, including from Sony. Microsoft was later rumored to be planning a $10 billion purchase of Discord, but those talks appeared to have failed as of now. More likely is that Discord will go public and have an IPO when it sees the opportunity. The deal with Sony may also give PlayStation players a chance to take part in Discord’s new social audio feature, Stage Channels. Though Stage Channels are focused on hosting events, shows, and interviews, it’s not hard to imagine a player listening to a game developer talk about their creation through their console even as they are playing it.