27 votes

Discord has removed its library and game-launcher functionality as well as the activity feed

14 comments

  1. [12]
    Deimos
    Link
    I guess this is final confirmation that their attempt to move into being a game store / launcher totally failed. At this point I don't think there's any indication what they're hoping to do for a...

    I guess this is final confirmation that their attempt to move into being a game store / launcher totally failed. At this point I don't think there's any indication what they're hoping to do for a viable business model. Nitro doesn't do nearly enough for enough people to ever pay for it to compensate for their massive VC debt.

    17 votes
    1. [9]
      alexandre9099
      Link Parent
      Would discord just slowly burn and some day stop existing?

      Would discord just slowly burn and some day stop existing?

      5 votes
      1. [8]
        Deimos
        (edited )
        Link Parent
        It's more likely they'd end up getting acquired at some point, but they've taken $280 million in venture capital from investors who are expecting a (large) return eventually. The VCs are giving...

        It's more likely they'd end up getting acquired at some point, but they've taken $280 million in venture capital from investors who are expecting a (large) return eventually. The VCs are giving them that money because Discord's promising them that they'll make a massive profit eventually, so they can't just keep losing ~50 million dollars a year for long.

        11 votes
        1. [7]
          Wolf
          Link Parent
          Do you have a source on the numbers? I would really like to know more about Discord's business, especially the losing $50 million a year part of it.

          Do you have a source on the numbers? I would really like to know more about Discord's business, especially the losing $50 million a year part of it.

          1. [6]
            Deimos
            Link Parent
            Here's a list of their funding rounds: https://www.crunchbase.com/organization/discord/funding_rounds/funding_rounds_list Crunchbase makes it a little annoying to see the individual rounds now,...

            Here's a list of their funding rounds: https://www.crunchbase.com/organization/discord/funding_rounds/funding_rounds_list

            Crunchbase makes it a little annoying to see the individual rounds now, so:

            1. Series A - $8,200,000 on 2013-11-21
            2. Series B - undisclosed amount on 2015-02-10
            3. Series C - $20,000,000 on 2016-01-26
            4. Series D - $50,000,000 on 2017-01-01
            5. Series E - $50,000,000 on 2018-04-19
            6. Series F - $150,000,000 on 2018-12-21

            If you want more info on a particular round you can probably just search for "discord series e" or something similar, there are generally a few articles from TechCrunch, Wall Street Journal, or other sites about most rounds.

            The $50M/year is mostly just me guessing based on how frequently they've been raising more money over the last few years, and some general knowledge about how much it probably costs to run a company/service that size. Companies generally don't want to keep taking more VC repeatedly, so I don't think they'd be doing it so often if they didn't need to.

            2 votes
            1. [5]
              Wolf
              Link Parent
              Thank you for the sources. As for the costs, how much of it do you think is going into the servers? I assume a lot of the costs is hiring employees, but do you think server costs would be the...

              Thank you for the sources.

              As for the costs, how much of it do you think is going into the servers? I assume a lot of the costs is hiring employees, but do you think server costs would be the second largest category?

              1 vote
              1. [4]
                Deimos
                Link Parent
                It's total speculation, but I would guess that servers are a significant cost but not a major portion overall. Maybe something in the $1M - 10M/year range? Employee salaries in San Francisco will...

                It's total speculation, but I would guess that servers are a significant cost but not a major portion overall. Maybe something in the $1M - 10M/year range?

                Employee salaries in San Francisco will definitely be the major cost, and having a large office in SF most likely costs millions of dollars a year too. I wouldn't be surprised if their office costs and server costs were comparable.

                1 vote
                1. [3]
                  Wolf
                  Link Parent
                  Thanks for at least putting a range on it. I am guessing a lot of tech companies are forced to go to San Francisco, or CA in general, for experienced employees. Although, how difficult would it be...

                  Thanks for at least putting a range on it. I am guessing a lot of tech companies are forced to go to San Francisco, or CA in general, for experienced employees. Although, how difficult would it be to make an app like Discord. I am assuming most of the difficulty lies in the backend - server architecture, efficiency and all that. Could you shed some light on that?

                  1 vote
                  1. [2]
                    Deimos
                    Link Parent
                    There are a lot of things that are very difficult at Discord's scale on the backend, but it's definitely not the only hard part. As just one example, this is a recent blog post they made that...

                    There are a lot of things that are very difficult at Discord's scale on the backend, but it's definitely not the only hard part. As just one example, this is a recent blog post they made that talks about how much work and performance-sensitivity is involved in the service that keeps track of which channels and messages a given user has read. That seems like an extremely simple functionality, but at Discord's scale they start running into things like fundamental limitations in the programming language they chose, even with a relatively high-performance choice like Go.

                    They're also doing a lot of difficult things on the front-end in their client applications too though. They have mobile versions, web versions, native versions (built around the web versions). Those apps have to deal with a lot of complex aspects like audio and video streaming, creating interface overlays, interacting with running processes to recognize what game users are playing, and so on.

                    It's a complex service in a lot of ways. If you want a general idea of what it takes from a code perspective, you could look at the open-source code from some comparable services like Zulip or Mattermost or Matrix and its Riot clients.

                    3 votes
                    1. Wolf
                      Link Parent
                      Thanks for all this. I didn't think things could get so complex at scale. I will look more into the open source services to see if I can get any more insight.

                      Thanks for all this. I didn't think things could get so complex at scale. I will look more into the open source services to see if I can get any more insight.

                      1 vote
    2. [2]
      Adys
      Link Parent
      I think the most likely path for discord is they become a Twitch competitor. But hell if I understand how that could be profitable...

      I think the most likely path for discord is they become a Twitch competitor. But hell if I understand how that could be profitable...

      1 vote
      1. Deimos
        Link Parent
        That's definitely not a good market to try to compete in. Twitch is already running into some trouble of their own with Microsoft, Facebook, and Google (via YouTube) all dumping in a lot of money...

        That's definitely not a good market to try to compete in. Twitch is already running into some trouble of their own with Microsoft, Facebook, and Google (via YouTube) all dumping in a lot of money to pull away their top streamers: https://www.polygon.com/2020/1/27/21043450/twitch-streamers-leaving-mixer-facebook-youtube-ninja-shroud-disguisedtoast

        Twitch is owned by Amazon too, so I'm sure they could start pouring money of their own if they really wanted to. Trying to compete directly with 4 of the richest tech companies and their almost unlimited capital would almost certainly not end well.

        8 votes
  2. Keegan
    Link
    Well I don't think I'll miss much. My friend group recently deleted our accounts and are going to instead just use Steam's VC for now while we look for a better option. I didn't really trust...

    Well I don't think I'll miss much. My friend group recently deleted our accounts and are going to instead just use Steam's VC for now while we look for a better option. I didn't really trust Discord's privacy and data practices, and my friends had enough of the issues with mics not picking up, cutting out, tons of packets dropping, etc. even on excellent networks.

    7 votes
  3. SkewedSideburn
    Link
    I never cared for the library part, but I really enjoyed Activity Feed. The "your friends are playing" or "someone's streaming now" blobs were useful to me. As well as news.

    I never cared for the library part, but I really enjoyed Activity Feed. The "your friends are playing" or "someone's streaming now" blobs were useful to me. As well as news.

    4 votes