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Discord’s new features make for better online conventions

Paid tickets, better discoverability, and more

Discord’s rebrand key art, which shows colorful characters hanging out together on a blue background Image: Discord
Cass Marshall is a news writer focusing on gaming and culture coverage, taking a particular interest in the human stories of the wild world of online games.

Discord, the popular chat client, is making some changes in 2021. Among these changes are threaded conversations, better ways to discover new communities, and paid tickets to allow creators a new source of income.

Stage Channels are a less chaotic version of a Discord group chat; only a few select people have the ability to talk freely, and everyone else in the channel is the audience. Audience members can queue up to take part in an organized Q&A, or just enjoy the show. It’s a feature similar to the Clubhouse app, which has lately been imitated across other social media platforms.

Discord’s next new feature is Stage Discovery, a tab in the Discord client. Users can click it to see active stages, and join the host community from there. A feature that allows hosts to sell tickets to their stages is currently in private beta, with no confirmed release date.

Threads — the ability to create a nested conversation under one specific message — will also arrive to Discord this summer. Threads are great to explore random tangents without derailing the main conversation, or to host a spoiler-filled conversation.

Discord announced these changes during a press conference held in Discord itself that previewed a couple of cool features. There was a music bot to play some tunes, as well as a smooth and polished in-client poker game.

It’s been a big year of growth for Discord due to the pandemic, and the application has expanded beyond being just for gamers. With Stages, threads, and poker, being in Discord almost feels like attending a physical convention — which makes sense, as Discord has hosted over 30 conventions in 2020, including working with Defcon, Vidcon, PAX Gamescom, and Devcom.

Sony recently invested in Discord, with plans to integrate the service into the PlayStation Network in early 2022. Discord representatives said they were not ready to share details on the partnership as of yet.

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