Why Microsoft Vovets the Discord Chat Service

Revealed during the pandemic, the platform claims 140 million users, including 75% outside the United States

It could be one of the biggest financial deals of the next few weeks in the tech world. According to the Wall Street Journal and the specialist magazine Venture Beat, Microsoft has entered into exclusive negotiations to acquire the Californian communications service Discord. The transaction is said to be trading for more than $ 10 billion (around 8.4 billion euros). So far, neither side has agreed to comment on the revelations.

Becoming particularly popular during the pandemic, Discord was the result of an initial failure. In 2015, its founders, Jason Citron and Eros Resmini, embarked on the creation of a multiplayer video game, Glitch. The title does not find its audience, but users favor the communication system within the game. The two entrepreneurs will focus on developing this functionality.

Concretely, each Discord user has the ability to have his own private space (a server) where he creates, on specific topics, chat rooms, accessible to others only by invitation. Exchanges can take place both in writing and in audio and video chats.

In its early days, Discord first gained popularity with the gaming audience, who used it to chat smoothly while playing games. Video game studios and publishers also see it as a valuable tool for keeping in touch with the gaming community. Some shows devoted to video games have several hundred thousand registrants.

But gradually, other groups are seizing on this new tool, sometimes for the worse. This is particularly the case in 2017 when the American alt-right seized it to organize rallies in Charlottesville where an anti-racist protester was killed. Therefore, the company drastically strengthens its moderation system, while wishing to open up to a wider audience. The Covid-19 pandemic will allow it to achieve this ambition. During confinement, Discord is one of the preferred solutions (with Zoom) to meet up with friends, or take a painting class. In France, teachers use it to teach.

In total, the company claims 140 million users, 75% of which are outside the United States. In full boom, in December 2020, it carried out its last fundraising (140 million dollars) which values ​​it at 7 billion dollars.