Rachel KaserInternet Culture Writer
Rachel is a writer and former game critic from Central Texas. She enjoys gaming, writing mystery stories, streaming on Twitch, and horseback Rachel is a writer and former game critic from Central Texas. She enjoys gaming, writing mystery stories, streaming on Twitch, and horseback riding. Check her Twitter for curmudgeonly criticisms.
Discord, the gaming chat app, today opened its fledgling game store and library to beta, meaning anyone can purchase games, launch games they already own, or play games granted to them by the premium subscription option.
The store itself is modest, especially compared with the likes of Steam, Origin, or Uplay. It’s got some indie darlings like Hollow Knight, Subnautica, Celeste, or Frostpunk. If you’re in the mood for some older favorites, it’s also got the likes of Metro: Last Light, Psychonauts, and System Shock 2. A few indie games will also be “First on Discord,” meaning they’ll be exclusive to the Discord storefront for the first 90 days or so after their launch.
That said, several of the titles — including the aforementioned old favorites — are apparently not available for straight purchase. Instead, they’re listed as “free with Nitro,” Discord’s premium option available for about $10 a month. While Nitro itself is an attractive option, if all you want are the games, then there are easier places to get them.
Still, I’d be curious to see how large the store gets in future. Just this time two years ago — or, heck, even a year ago — I’d have been skeptical about the viability of Discord launching a store. But the platform has become a staple of gaming life in much the same way gaming stores like Steam already are, so it’s not that much of a stretch. And several games, including Fortnite, Fallout 76, and Call of Duty: Black Ops 4, are proving that Steam need not be the first port of call when it comes to selling a game. So why not have Discord throw its hat into the ring?
The most interesting update to come with the store’s opening, other than the store itself, is the Universal Library. As the name implies, the conceit is that you import your games to a library baked into the Discord app, and from there you can start all of your games that would otherwise require you to open three or four different launchers.
It’s a cool idea, but I found the execution a little wanting. For example, when I imported my games, it only pulled in games from Steam and Origin, and not the Battle.net launcher where I keep Overwatch, Destiny 2, and Black Ops 4. I could understand it overlooking the Big Fish Games launcher where I keep my hidden-object titles, but the exclusion of Battle.net is a big oversight.
It was also a little confused about some of my games. It wasn’t able to identify that Battlefield One was on the Origin platform, for example, though it was able to pinpoint Mass Effect‘s platform being the same. It was able to pull accurate details about the Last Played date of my Steam games, but not my Origin games — it even had “never played” for Battlefield One, a game I was literally playing hours ago.
So it could use a bit of work, but for a start, it’s not that bad. We’ve contacted Discord for more information about how the Universal Library identifies games from different launchers.
The beta is currently available for all Discord users.
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