Discord doubles down on apps to make servers livelier • TechCrunch

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Discord is refreshing 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 meeting place, with new ways to customize servers where hundreds of thousands of people regularly gather around games, hobbies or even creators. beloved.

Discord says more than a third of its chatroom-style servers already use apps, often called bots. The apps, miniature pieces of automated software that run on Discord’s servers, offer utilities like moderation, digital DJing, and basic games. Now, the company is introducing a full directory of apps, elevating the many original bots and software that run Discord with a proper directory.

The Application Directory, which will launch on Tuesday, will provide server administrators with a one-stop shop for ways to build 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 have largely been the domain of small, scrappy developers looking to create useful utilities. But it’s clear that the company’s vision for its server-based experiences is moving in a more formal direction that could involve more formal partnerships with big, established software makers.

Discord will also begin allowing a small cohort of hand-picked developers to sell premium app subscriptions from the platform. Anyone can choose to pay for premium app features when the app directory is live and developers can join a waitlist to get their own premium benefits listed, but testing is enough limited for now.

The company is also announcing expansion on the games front, introducing “activities” that bring more elaborate mini-games like virtual golf, chess and poker to the servers. While not limited to games – an activity allows users to queue and watch YouTube videos together – the new feature is designed to give server members more ways to hang out and hang out. time together.

New Discord activities are launching this week. All users will have access to Putt Party (virtual putt putt) and Watch Together activity from the jump, while anyone subscribing to Discord’s premium Nitro subscription will be able to play additional games including poker, a game type Pictionary, chess and a Scrabble clone called Letter. League. Users who pay for Nitro can invite non-premium members to play the expanded roster of games, but non-premium users won’t be able to initialize the full suite of new games and activities.

Along with the app-focused changes, Discord is also adding a new entry-level subscription tier for Nitro that will cost less. Nitro Basic will cost $2.99 ​​per month, offering some basic features for casual users, including custom emojis, larger file uploads, and a profile badge. The new tier was already available to select users in the UK, but will launch globally on October 20.

“The new Nitro plan is perfect for people who use Discord to hang out with friends who aren’t necessarily gamers,” Peter Sellis, Discord’s vice president of products, said in a call. “They’ll be able to experience some of Nitro’s best features, but won’t need some of the more robust perks like high-definition streaming, super-large file downloads, or access to more activities.”

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