Discord has begun testing video chat and screen sharing — two of the most-requested features from its audience of free voice and text chat users — for about 5 percent of its users.

That’s a big deal, as Discord has (at least) 45 million users for its game voice and text chat platform. It could roll the video chat and screen-sharing features out and come into more direct competition with Microsoft’s Skype platform.

Eros Resmini, chief marketing officer at San Francisco-based Discord, said the company has become a defacto platform for gamers who want to collaborate with each other in playing multiplayer social games. But he said those players have been asking for a long time to be able to do more, like sharing maps with each other via screen sharing, or seeing each other in video chats.

Above: Discord makes the leap to video chat.

Image Credit: Discord

But Resmini said that the server capacity to pull off the new features will be considerable. To maintain high quality, Discord will slowly phase in the features with a smaller population and expand it over time. Compared to voice data, video data is a huge burden on data center hardware resources, in terms of bandwidth, processing power, and storage. Discord needs to work out the bugs to make it as efficient as possible, so the service works uninterrupted for its tens of millions of players.

If you are one of the lucky few who gets to test it, you can make video calls with anyone, including those who didn’t initially get access to it. The feature might also disappear if Discord has to fix some bugs, so it is asking users to be patient during the testing. The company is targeting a period of a month before it figures out just how long this is going to take to roll out to all players.

“This is clearly one of our biggest features of the year, and we think it is very exciting,” Resmini said. “It surprised us early on how many of our users were still using Skype for video calls.The feedback was clear.”

Above: Discord users can chat with up to 10 friends while on video.

Image Credit: Discord

The video calls will be limited to 10 people at the most. So you can watch somebody else play a game, but it isn’t meant to be a one-to-many livestreaming service like Twitch.

Discord has seen rapid growth, and it has 70 employees now.

The PC Gaming channel is presented by Intel®'s Game Dev program. Subscribe to the PC Gaming channel x

Thanks for your interest in the PC Gaming channel

Select the products you would like to subscribe to:

  • Intel Game Developer insights*
  • PC Gaming weekly news

Country required

Please enter a valid email address Subscribe

*By checking this box, you are confirming you are an adult 18 years or older and you agree to Intel contacting you with marketing-related emails or by telephone. You may unsubscribe at any time. Intel’s web sites and communications are subject to our Privacy Notice and Terms of Use.

Shared from VentureBeat