This week on CheckpointXP Daily, we take a look at the big news that Microsoft is supposedly the front runner to acquire Discord for over 10 billion dollars. If that statement brings back memories of a decade ago when Microsoft bought Skype, you’re not alone. So would this be a good thing? As you can guess from my headlines, here’s why I don’t think so.
The Skype Conundrum
Do you remember Skype in 2009? The simple little video chat app that started to take the world by storm. People forget today that at one time, Skype was an incredibly popular and useful app. Nowadays, we think of it more as the annoying chat program automatically installed when we use Windows.
There’s a reason Discord has 3 times as many active users as Skype does, and a big part of it is that our operating system doesn’t shove it down our throats. As unpleasant as the phrase Microsoft Discord feels to say, it would look even uglier booting up every time you turn on your computer.
Make no mistake, Discord boasts 140 million monthly users against Skype’s 40 million. With over 100 million people already bought into your platform, will it be more accepted than Skype? Yes. Will that make it okay? No.
More Than Just A Video Game Platform
Discord started as a gaming platform. It was the alternative to bad in-game voice comms, and really that was about it. Since then, it has ballooned into one of the most important business platforms and social media platforms in the world. Every brand worth their salt seems to have a discord server these days.
From Epic Games to the smallest Indie developer, people are using Discord to talk about and improve their favorite games. Indeed, my tabletop group uses Discord for our weekly Star Wars RPG. During COVID-19, the platform has only seen more importance and use.
They’re Going To Get Paid
Let there be no doubt, Discord is going to get paid. And big time. Whether they choose to go public or sell to a larger brand, those at the top of the Discord ladder are about to collect a serious payday. But as more and more properties get gobbled up by mega corporations, am I wrong for not wanting it to be Microsoft?
Am I wrong to hope that Discord chooses to go public and continue operating as its own brand? I definitely have my gripes with the platform, and think they need to do more to police the content on it. However, I don’t think a sale to Microsoft is in the best interest of anybody.
It’s already hard enough to find an indie developer or upstart that isn’t immediately gobbled up by Microsoft, Sony, Ubisoft, EA, Nintendo, or Square-Enix. So maybe it’s time for a new major player to enter the scene. To see a small program launch and make it to the big time, and continue to exist as its own company.
But in all likelihood, I’ll be angrily cursing out forced Discord updates in the very near future.
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