Sony and Discord are teaming up to bring the Discord app to PlayStation consoles. The surprise announcement comes just after Discord ended acquisition talks with Microsoft. Discord is a chat app that’s especially popular in the gaming community. Sony’s new deal will connect the app into its PSN online network next year, though details on how exactly that will work remain unknown.
“Together, our teams are already hard at work connecting Discord with your social and gaming experience on PlayStation Network,” says PlayStation President and CEO Jim Ryan in a blog post. “Our goal is to bring the Discord and PlayStation experiences closer together on console and mobile starting early next year, allowing friends, groups, and communities to hang out, have fun, and communicate more easily while playing games together.”
Discord has partnered with console platforms before, though its deal with Microsoft was not a particularly deep integration. This is almost certainly more than a “friends can see what you’re playing on PS5” and more of a “this is an alternative chat infrastructure for anyone on a Sony system.” Chances are it’ll be a deep, system-wide but clearly Discord-branded option — such as the “Start a voice chat with Discord” option when you invite a friend to your game or join theirs.
The timeline of early 2022 also suggests that this is a major product change, probably coinciding with a big platform update on Sony’s long-term PS5 roadmap. As part of the deal, Sony Interactive Entertainment made a minority investment in Discord as part of the company’s most recent funding round. Sony notably did not acquire Discord in the deal.
The news comes just after Microsoft made an attempt to buy Discord. The two companies were reportedly in advanced talks on a $10 billion deal. According to reports, Discord was in talks with at least three companies at the time, including Amazon and Epic Games, but decided to turn them down and stay independent.
The surprise news leaves some questions about the timeline of the whole deal. It’s not clear if Sony made a move in response to Discord turning its suitors down, or if deals were halted due to Sony’s proposal.
We’re not sure yet how this integration will look like. Presumably, this means that there’ll be some kind of Discord chat interface that’ll let you interact with your friends on PSN either through voice or text, though it’s unclear if there’ll be a fully-baked app or a more limited implementation. The service, which was popularized by gamers, has over 140 million users.
While the new PlayStation is better than the old one when it comes to voice chat, the old one wasn’t great to begin with, and Discord is not just easier to use but something millions of gamers already do use daily. And these days, if a game isn’t exclusive, being robustly cross-platform is the next best option — so PS5 players being able to seamlessly join and chat with PC players will reduce a pain point there.