Microsoft is in exclusive talks to buy Discord for the first sum of $ 10 billion dollars. That’s a whopping $ 2.5 billion more than the recently paid purchase of ZeniMax Media, Bethesda’s parent company. However, I can not help but think that it is Sony that will try to buy Discord, not Microsoft.
While it is unlikely that the capital is available that Microsoft can muster, the acquisition of Discord will help Sony address one of the most disappointing aspects of the PS5: its weaker voice chat.
Objectively speaking, voice chat on PS5 does not compare too favorably with Xbox. You can argue until you are blue in the face that it is “just as good”
It’s easy to forget that Microsoft first brought voice chat to the original Xbox way back in 2002. It then took voice chat a step further by introducing Party Chat (or cross-game chat) during the Xbox 360 era in 2008 and has continued to fine-tune. that page (for example, you can now adjust the individual sound level of each party member now). Microsoft has since invested heavily in its online services, which were helped by users who paid to play online. It has then had time and resources to refine the offer.
Sony, meanwhile, took a different approach to online chat. Online was free on PS3, but Party Chat never materialized on Sony’s platform due to console memory limitations. PlayStation fans had to wait until PS4 for Party Chat to finally appear on the console, which coincided with the company making PlayStation Plus mandatory for online gaming.
Skype up your life
While this was certainly a much-needed addition to PlayStation’s online suite of services, Microsoft went a step further to greatly improve voice chat on Xbox One. The Redmond-based company acquired Skype in 2011 for $ 8.5 billion, and quickly implemented the voice platform technology in Xbox One to significantly improve sound quality.
The difference in sound quality from Xbox 360 to Xbox One was strong, and it is for this reason that I think Sony can benefit enormously from acquiring Discord. It’s an established platform that excels with instant messaging, voice chat and video, and the technology will work wonders for PlayStation users. It will help PlayStation to close the aforementioned development gap with the Xbox almost immediately as well.
Fuel with nitro
If Sony owned Discord, it could immediately overload its current online offering by integrating the same technology that drives Discord so successfully. Sound quality can be improved, along with stability; the messaging system could finally function as intended, instead of being cumbersome and inconsistent; and it may even pave the way for video chat on PlayStation, which has grown in importance during the pandemic. After all, many people bought the new PS5 camera, but there is little you can do about it as it looks.
Discord’s voice chat has a number of desirable features that will benefit PlayStation users, such as echo cancellation, noise reduction, and automatic gain control. Voice chat also does not require constant invitations to start conversations: you simply join a voice channel that is always open and lets in and out as you wish. Considering how bad it is to make a Party Chat on PS5 right now, it will be a blessing in itself.
Discord will also give Sony access to hundreds of communities to join instantly, most of which are game-focused. Sony’s team of devs could have official Discord channels that players could gather in, and it would provide a far more efficient platform for delivering news and updates than using the PS5’s Activity Card and Home screen.
With Sony set to remove the PlayStation community from the PS4, which is really a tribute to the many channels and servers on Discord where communities thrive, Sony does not need to create another feature that actually lives and dies on a closed platform. Having it available via Discord will require less maintenance, and increase the chance of being used much more.
But alas, it seems that Microsoft is already one step ahead of its closest competitor, mainly because it has the financial strength to do so. But also because Microsoft is all too aware that when you buy a company, you are not just owning a successful business and a brand: you can now use the tools, technology, and people who helped make those companies such a successful space.
In fairness, it makes sense for Microsoft to follow Discord so closely. Xbox and PC are now closely matched thanks to the Xbox Game Pass, and Xbox boss Phil Spencer has hinted that Microsoft will be open to “cross-talk” between Xbox Party Chat and Discord for quite some time. You will believe that Microsoft will ensure that this quickly becomes a reality, and will also use Discord to become a place for the Xbox community to come together, something that the failed streaming service Mixer never managed to achieve.
I would also not be surprised to see Discord Nitro, the paid level of the communication app that gives users an enhanced experience, be collected as part of the Xbox Game Pass Ultimate. This will undoubtedly encourage more PC users to sign up for Xbox Game Pass as well, and will also introduce Discord for more Xbox users as a result. Microsoft has already given away three months of Discord Nitro to Xbox Game Pass Ultimate subscribers as part of its “Perks” scheme, so the precedent is there.
Okay, maybe it’s okay if Microsoft buys Discord after all … Sorry, Sony.