Discord is moving beyond chatting and wants to start selling you games.
On Thursday, the company launched the beta of its digital game store, which will carry a curated selection of new and popular hit titles.
The store will be like a small boutique bookshop that contains recommendations from employees scribbled on little note cards, Discord said in a blog post. “We think this kind of cozy neighborhood bookshop vibe would be great for games. It reduces clutter and makes it easier to find what you want,” the company added.
For now, the store will only be available to about 50,000 Canadian players, but Discord plans on rolling it out widely to users later this year; it’ll appear as a tab in the home screen.
The announcement puts Discord into direct competition with Valve’s Steam platform, which also sells PC games and recently revamped its chat service. Discord’s new store could prove to be a formidable rival. The company’s chat client is specifically designed for gamers and has amassed 150 million users.
However, the new store will be different from Steam’s, which has become a platform where almost anyone can sell a game. Discord’s digital shop will forgo the “anything goes approach” and focus on offering products that the company believes people will enjoy.
The new store will also try to sell indie games exclusively through a “First on Discord” program. “They’re literally first on Discord — usually 90 days and then the developers can sell anywhere else they want. This beta won’t have any First on Discord titles, but we’ll be showing off some soon,” the company said.
For now, the store offers only a small collection of games. Discord sent PCMag a list and they included ten titles such as Dead Cells, Frostpunk, The Banner Saga 3, and Hollow Knight. Although these games have won rave reviews from critics, they also aren’t huge “triple-A titles.” But Discord is promising to grow the store over time.
As part of Thursday’s announcement, Discord is going to offer some free games, but only to subscribers of its Nitro service, which can cost $ 4.99 a month. Nitro subscribers will get access to games such as Saints Row: The Third and Metro: Last Light Redux, among others.
“We’re excited to offer you the opportunity to catch up with amazing game experiences you might’ve missed and even mix up what you play with your friends from time to time,” the company said.
The free games for Nitro subscribers will also first arrive as a beta test to the 50,000 Canadian players.