A $ 10 billion offer made by Microsoft for the Discord gaming platform has been reported to have fallen apart. Discord CEO and co-founder Jason Citron can’t talk about it – he’s under nondisclosure agreements – but he told CNBC on Tuesday that there was more than one offer for his internet chat startup, which is becoming a phenomenon. much higher communication channels for voice, video and text.
“We get a lot of offers,” Citron said. “Our business is doing really well and we believe we are positioned to build a next generation communications service.”
Citron and his Discord co-founder Stanislav Vishnevskiy started the business as a platform for gamers, like Citron himself, frustrated by internet communications technology that he claimed was not keeping up with the pace of change. Many used services like Microsoft’s Skype to communicate, and six years ago the company focused on creating a way for people who played video games to hang out and talk to each other in a better way.
But many things have changed.
“We’ve seen people take our service and start using it in all these new ways,” Citron said of the company, which ranked third 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.
That’s not going to decrease, Citron says, even if the pandemic ends and people return to a more open and active life.
“The past year was an outlier for many technology companies and … for all of humanity,” Citron said, adding that its user base doubled and its revenue tripled. 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 still want to spend quality time with friends and communities to study, play video games or talk about ‘The Bachelor.’
“We see a great opportunity to grow our business model,” he added.
The San Francisco-based company claims to have around 150 million active users per month and does not make any money from advertising. Discord sells subscriptions to a premium service that allows for custom profiles and tiered high-resolution images and videos that charge $ 4.99 or $ 9.99 per month, or $ 99.99 per year.
The Discord app is seen on an iPhone in this photo illustration in Warsaw, Poland, on April 3, 2021.
Jaap Arriens | NurPhoto | fake images
The Discord CEO believes the future will be one where he will continue to win by creating a better user interface for the equivalent of physical rooms on the internet, not just messaging technology. That room could be an auditorium, a library, a bedroom, a cafeteria or a 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 behaviors of users depending on the space in which they are.
Discord calls its latest channels Stage, and it’s not the only company pursuing new techniques for connecting to social media. Twitter’s 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 that many Discord users today experience it in smaller groups of friends, say six to 10 people, but larger communities around topics of interest, which can be as specific as the people who like to photograph. trains, are a major focus of development efforts.
“For many years, people have hosted great panels and questions and answers and tried to use our service to make it work, and it has been a bit difficult,” Citron said.
The company has introduced a new user interface and there is more to come to improve the community experience for hosting chats, increasing discovery on the platform. “So you can find the public conversations that happen all over Discord. And we will allow communities to monetize it, ”Citron said.
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