Discord, the gaming chat platform, has added a new feature called Stage Channels. These are described as “a special type of voice channel… where some people can talk and others can listen as the audience.” It’s essentially the defining feature of Clubhouse, the invite-only mobile app that briefly attracted media attention earlier this year.
In a Stage Channel, certain participants are marked as speakers while everyone else is the mute audience. You might think of it as like livestreaming without the video component, or like a live podcast. Or, wait – it’s radio. You remember radio, right? Because for a moment there, I did not.
This functionality has become sought after by social media companies in the past few months due to the surge in popularity of Clubhouse, a mobile app that was suddenly being used by Silicon Valley and US media folks. At the time, the consensus was that Clubhouse’s key feature would be copied by every other social media company going – and now here’s Discord with their response.
Adding extra interest to this story is the rumour last week that Microsoft are in talks to buy Discord for $10 billion (around £7.2 billion). Microsoft have tried and failed to build their own streaming and community tool for folks who play games (RIP Mixer), so it’s not a surprise they’d be interested in buying one that already exists.
For me, I like audio-only content because I can listen to it while travelling (usually walking) more easily than I can watch a video. That convenience is diluted a lot by the audio being live and streamed rather than downloaded before I leave the house.
You can read more about how Discord’s new Stage Channels work and how to start one on this Discord support page.