Sony and Discord have announced a partnership that will integrate the latest gaming-centric chat app with PlayStation’s own built-in social tools.
This is a big step and the recent surprise given how the acquisition talks have been going on in the air recently – Sony offered better business than Microsoft, the rumor was that an unknown minority took part in the company before the IPO. The exact nature of the partnership was not disclosed in the brief announcement post.
The closest thing we’ve ever heard of what’s actually going to happen is that the two companies “will need to bring the Discord and PlayStation experiences closer to console and mobile early next year,” which is at least easy to imagine. Discord has previously partnered with console platforms, although its deal with Microsoft was not particularly deeply integrated. It’s definitely “Friends can see what you’re playing on the PS5” and “Alternative chat infrastructure for anyone on the Sony system,” something more than that, of course.
Chances are it’s a deep, system-wide but obviously discord-branded option – such as “start a voice chat with Discord” when you invite or join a friend to your game. The timeline in early 2022 also suggests that it is a big product change, perhaps in conjunction with a major platform update on the gold long-term PS5 roadmap. In terms of voice chat, the new PlayStation is better than the old one, although the old one wasn’t great to start with and the discord is not only easy to use, but millions of gamers already use it every day.
And these days, if a game isn’t exclusive, having a firm cross-platform is the next best option – so PS5 players will be able to join seamlessly and chat with a PC player, reducing a pain point there. Of course Microsoft has its own advantages, both Xbox and Windows run ecosystems, but it has repeatedly thwarted this opportunity and the acquisition of Discord may be the missing part that tied them together.
Of course this bird has flown, and with the acquisition negotiations of Microsoft seemingly worth about $10 billion, the growing chat app has decided that it will fly free with an IPO and try to be an influential voice platform everywhere instead of being valuable. Sony has done the financially speaking part of Discord’s recent million $100 million H round. It is unknown at this time what he will do after leaving the post.