Discord announced this week that it is making several changes to expand its service beyond gaming. The company says the change is one its users have requested as the app has become more of a tool for day-to-day communication. The company has launched a redesigned website with the tagline “Your place to talk.” The new site describes Discord as appropriate for school clubs, gaming groups, art communities, or just groups of friends.
A blog post by Discord CEO Jason Citron and CTO Stanislav Vishnevskiy read, “Games are what brought many of you on the platform, and we’ll always be grateful for that. As time passed, a lot of you realized and vocalized, that you simply wanted a place designed to hang out and talk in the comfort of your communities and friends. You wanted a place to have genuine conversations and spend quality time with people, whether catching up, learning something, or sharing ideas.”
Discord outlined several actions it plans to take to make its platform friendlier to non-gaming users. They include improving “the new user onboarding experience,” increasing capacity for voice and video chat, and continuing to invest in “reliability and performance as our top priority.”
Discord has secured an additional $100 million in funding, which it says will “help accelerate our investment in the community, new features, and the company.” Discord says it has also made the interface’s built-in jokes and references less specific to gaming. The company has also created a “Discord Safety Center” that summarizes its data practices, rules, safety tips, and explanations for parents and teachers.
Discord’s audience continues to grow, especially as the coronavirus pandemic has increased demand for voice and video chat services. The company, which competes primarily with workplace chat apps like Slack, announced it now has more than 100 million monthly active users who spend 4 billion minutes in the conversation each day.
Discord has also made other efforts to reach a broader audience in recent months. On Juneteenth, the company announced a set of initiatives to combat hate speech on its platform. Those include vowing to audit the ways its users spread racism; developing new software to manage abuse; diversifying its staff; contributing to organizations focused on racial justice; and offering customized services to community organizers and activists.