Sony has announced a new partnership with gaming-oriented messaging platform Discord, investing in the company and planning for closer ties and integration with the PlayStation Network to come in early 2022.
Announcing the partnership, PlayStation’s Jim Ryan writes:
Together, our teams are already hard at work connecting Discord with your social and gaming experience on PlayStation Network. 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.
It’s a significant announcement, coming not long after rumours that Discord was looking for someone to buy the company, with Microsoft the most likely suitor and a price set at around $10 billion, which Discord then reportedly backed out of in late April. Instead Sony has taken minority interest in Discord’s Series H round of funding, binding the two companies together in a meaningful fashion, but keeping Discord as an independent company with other investors.
What the partnership between PSN and Discord will look like is not yet clear, but its connections with other services have historically been relatively light. For instance, you can currently link your Spotify account to show what music you’re listening to, or your Xbox Live account in order to tell your Discord friends what you’re currently playing. From the wording on Ryan’s announcement and Sony investing in the company, it would suggest that the ties will be much deeper than that, building Discord support into the friends, messaging and chat functionality of the PlayStation 5 and PlayStation 4.
Sony may have already laid some of the necessary foundations for this with the sweeping changes to how messaging and parties work made in the run up to the PlayStation 5 release. Where party chats were previously one-off meet ups, they are now more permanent fixtures in the system, in a fashion similar to the way that you can have persistent chats and servers with friends in Discord. Integrating Discord servers would also be an ample replacement for the recently disabled Communities feature on PS4.
With the full integration expected to come in early 2022, I guess we’ll have quite a wait before we get further news and discover how extensive this integration can be.