If there's one thing gamers need, it's another online service to sell them games. Sorry if I got you wet with the dripping sarcasm there. But it is a fact that many gaming companies are trying to fill your desktop with their own branded launcher. Steam is still king with its huge library of games and ability to launch the large majority of them. Yet it will soon face competition from an unlikely source: Discord.
Discord has gained a reputation as a chat app for gamers. This was initially due to it taking up less resources than Skype, leaving more processing power for games. That's crucial when it comes to online multiplayer games like Overwatch or League of Legends that simultaneously require clear chat and lag-free gameplay. Now it seems that Discord wants to save your computer from being overwhelmed by launchers as well.
The Discord online store launched its beta for Canadians this week. The initial launch, reported by Eurogamer, sees games available from THQ as well as several indie publishers. Big titles like Hollow Knight and Banner Saga 3 adorn the store's front page. It looks fairly similar to Steam's front page but inside of the Discord UI. While it doesn't wow in the looks department, it does introduce one game-changing feature: Universal Library.
The Universal Library, if you allow, will scan your computer for games. Once scanned, games can be launched via Discord even if they already have their own launchers. This is huge because it allows gamers to bypass annoying services like EA Origin. Discord can become your one-and-only launcher for your entire library of games.
Another notable service provided by Discord's new game store is Discord Nitro. For $4.99 a month (or $49.99 a year), Discord will give you a selection of free games. It functions a lot like the monthly free games of Xbox Live Gold and PlayStation Plus. At the moment, subscribers have access to Saints Row: The Third and Metro: Last Light Redux as well as several other titles.
Steam has reigned supreme for so long that it's hard to imagine any other platform achieving such widespread success. The Discord store, however, could be a contender. It already has the goodwill of many gamers, and the Universal Library is an enticing function. While it's still only in Canadian beta for now, this is definitely something to keep an eye on.