Discord is the latest new player in the digital distribution game. The gamer-focused chat service today announced its new downloadable game storefront, as well as the addition of free games to its Discord Nitro premium service.
The Discord Store is launching in a beta test today for roughly 50,000 Canadian users. (Discord says more than 150 million people have used the service in total.) In a blog post announcing the Store, Discord said it hopes to recreate a "cozy neighborhood book shop vibe," with a curated selection of offerings and employee recommendations for games.
The initial slate of games to be sold through the store includes a number of critically acclaimed titles from independent developers, including Dead Cells, Frostpunk, Hollow Knight, and Into the Breach. That indie focus appears likely to continue in the future, as Discord said it will have a selection of "First on Discord" titles from independent developers that will be exclusive to the Discord Store for a limited period of time, typically 90 days. No such titles have been confirmed yet, nor will they be included in the beta.
In addition to the storefront, Discord is also adding a selection of free games to its Discord Nitro premium service. Once the Store launches, Nitro will also include access to a selection of older titles from indie and AAA developers. The initial selection of Nitro titles includes Saints Row: The Third, Metro: Last Light Redux, GoNNER, and Super Meat Boy.
Nitro carries a $5 monthly subscription fee, or $50 on an annual basis. To this point, the benefits of the service have been limited to perks like animated avatars and the ability to share larger files than standard users.
To accompany the new game offerings, Discord is also rolling out its Universal Library, a launcher program for any games downloaded through the Store. As the name implies, it can also scan a computer for other games and give users the ability to launch them all from the same program. (For games on services like Steam, Origin, and Uplay, the Universal Library will first open those programs, and then launch the game in question.)