Gaming Apps Compete, To The Benefit Of The Players

A screen-shot of a first-person shooter played on the gaming platform Discord

writer icon Paige Whitehead     Tali Fischer/Discord   |   Game Development     🕐 29. Aug. 2018

Though gaming companies may be feeling the pressure of competition in the market, gamers are reaping the benefits. Now players have a choice between stores and chat apps that best serve their needs. They also get the luxury of new updates and features that may not have been realised before.

Steam, Skype, and Discord are all competitors in a fast-growing market. As companies fight to stay relevant by making constant improvements, gamers come out on top.

About the Apps
Created in 2003 by Valve, Steam is a gaming distribution app that offers a wide variety of games from several distributors for players to purchase and download. Steam has dominated the digital game sales industry, partly because it was created before the market for video games took off.

Part of Steam’s success can be attributed to convenience. Games are all stored in one place and updated automatically. For games that require outside accounts, such as Ubisoft’s Uplay, they can still be housed and launched from Steam. Steam also includes a social function that allows adding friends, messaging, and voice chat.

Discord started out in 2015 as a chatting website for gamers. People could create groups for different games, find people to play coop games with, and add new friends they met along the way. As Discord’s success climbed, so did the functionality. Discord now offers voice chat, video chat, and an overlay function that keeps the conversation going even while using a full-screen activity.

A Growing Market
Recently, Steam upgraded its social chatting system to be an easier, more convenient experience. Players quickly noticed that the new look was similar to Discord. In return, Discord has recently launched its own digital video game store. Though the store is still in beta, it shows Discord’s willingness to enter into the market competition.

Discord is also considered a rival to Skype. Skype has come under fire recently for being confusing, difficult, and not as good as its rivals, such as Discord. Discord can potentially appeal to non-gamers, who may come to find that they enjoy Discord’s communication options. This makes Discord a competitor in two markets.

Competition Brings Quality
Now that there is competition, companies like Steam and Skype may have to up their game. Steam’s chat function, though similar to Discord’s, is a large improvement. Skype is continuing to make improvements, with hopes to keep users happy and stay relevant. And Discord’s digital game store may offer an advantage to smaller games that can get lost in Steam’s massive library.

In 2013, Steam controlled an estimated 75% of the digital video game market. More than 300 million people are said to use Skype. At just three years old, Discord already boasts 130 million users. Do these numbers demonstrate a new market? Or do the numbers imply that previous systems were not delivering on what the community wanted?

Whether Discord will be successful in taking on Steam and Skype, remains to be seen. Ultimately, as long as the companies keep working to improve their services, it is the gamers who will continue to benefit.

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