Discord will soon show ads — here's how this will change the beloved gaming chat app

A phone with the Discord logo over a desk
(Image credit: Shutterstock)

Discord is a fantastic chat app for gaming that allows groups of players to come together to chat while playing. It's grown so popular that people use it for all kinds of group chats outside of gaming. As popular as it is, though, it's been difficult for the company to make money. 

Discord offers a subscription-based model that unlocks extra features for dedicated users, but that doesn't seem to be enough to keep the company in the green. To counteract this and try to generate more income, The Wall Street Journal (through people familiar with plans) has discovered that Discord plans to introduce ads to its apps in the very near future, which is sure to upset some of its longtime users.

Discord was released in 2015 and has been ad-free all along, which could make this transition difficult for some. It promises to keep advertisements relevant to its gaming-centric users, so at least players who frequent the app shouldn't see ads for anything out of their comfort zone. 

Outside of traditional advertisements, Discord is set to offer rewards for players who stream specific games to their friends and complete certain in-game tasks, which could allow gaming companies to pay to have their software pushed through Discord, creating more engagement and a chance at some more viral marketing.

For its ad push, WSJ claims that Discord is in the process of hiring over a dozen people charged with implementing advertisements into the app and selling ads to gaming companies. Job listings like Engineering Manager—Revenue Growth are listed, which could relate to ad revenue generation.

Users will have the option to turn off personalized ads within the settings, but the company says ads will still appear within the app. Users will have the option to hide ads (or Quests, as Discord is calling them) that don't interest them, whether they're Discord Nitro subscribers or not. 

Obviously, a company needs to make money, but it'll be interesting to see whether Discord can keep its large user base while also introducing ads. If the company can implement them in a way that isn't too intrusive, it might not be a big issue. On the other hand, if the ads become a problem, it could hurt Discord's long-term prospects. Will Discord users flock back to apps like TeamSpeak for gaming communication? Only time will tell.

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Dave LeClair
Senior News Editor

Dave LeClair is the Senior News Editor for Tom's Guide, keeping his finger on the pulse of all things technology. He loves taking the complicated happenings in the tech world and explaining why they matter. Whether Apple is announcing the next big thing in the mobile space or a small startup advancing generative AI, Dave will apply his experience to help you figure out what's happening and why it's relevant to your life.