“We received a lot of offers.”
It has been reported that a $ 10 billion offer made by Microsoft for the Discord gaming platform has collapsed. Discord CEO and co-founder Jason Citron can’t talk about it – he’s on a nondisclosure contract – but he told CNBC on Tuesday that there was more than one bid for his start-up Internet chat, which is turning into one of the much more important communication phenomena for voice, video and text.
“We received a lot of offers,” said Citron. “Our business is doing really well and we believe we are well positioned to create a next generation communications service.”
Citron and his Discord co-founder Stanislav Vishnevskiy started the company as a platform for gamers, like Citron himself, frustrated with internet communication technology that he said was not keeping pace. change. Many were using services like Microsoft’s Skype to communicate and six years ago the company was focused on creating a way for people who played video games to hang out and talk to each other better.
But a lot has changed.
“We’ve seen people take our service and start using it in all of these new ways,” Citron said of the company, ranked No. 3 on the 2021 CNBC Disruptor 50 list.
Users talk about TV shows on Discord, and many other communities of interest, from photography enthusiasts to people focused on learning a foreign language, are on the platform.
It’s not going to slow down, Citron says, even as the pandemic ends and people return to more open and active lives.
“The past year has been quite an outlier for a lot of tech companies and … for all of humanity,” Citron said, adding that it has resulted in a doubling of its user base and a tripling of. his income. But he says the long-term growth trend of people spending more time online will continue. “At the end of the day, school day, work day… people will always want to spend quality time with friends and communities studying, playing video games or talking about ‘The Bachelor’. “
“We see a tremendous opportunity to develop our business model,” he added.
The San Francisco-based company claims around 150 million monthly active users and doesn’t make any money from advertising. Discord sells premium service subscriptions that allows personalized profiles and high-resolution images and videos at levels that charge $ 4.99 or $ 9.99 per month, or $ 99.99 per year.
The Discord app can be seen on an iPhone in this photo illustration in Warsaw, Poland on April 3, 2021.
Jaap Arriens | NurPhoto | Getty Images
The CEO of Discord believes the future will be one in which he continues to win by creating a better user interface for the equivalent of physical rooms on the internet, not just messaging technology. This room could be an auditorium, library, dormitory, cafe or restaurant, and in the future that space will be created and experienced virtually – bringing together voice, video and text in a way that creates new “spaces” and leads to different user behaviors depending on the space in which they find themselves.
Discord is calling its latest channels Stage, and it’s not the only company looking for new ways to connect to social media. Twitter has its Spaces and Clubhouse platform, ranked 33rd on this year’s CNBC Disruptor 50 list, is also creating a new kind of audio app experience and growing rapidly. Facebook is also preparing its live audio product.
Citron says many Discord users experience it today in smaller groups of friends, say six to ten people, but larger communities around topics of interest – which can be as specific as people who enjoy photographing trains – are at the center of development efforts.
“For many years, people have had big panels and questions and answers and tried to use our service to make it work, and it’s been a bit difficult,” Citron said.
The company has integrated a new user interface and there is still a lot to be done to improve the experience for communities to hold discussions, which will increase discovery on the platform. “So you can find the public conversations happening all around Discord. And we’re going to allow communities to monetize it,” Citron said.
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