Discord Dishes on Teen Gaming Chat Trends

first_img Trade In Your Nintendo Switch For a Better Battery (With a Catch)Get Used to ‘Fortnite’s’ Powerful Mech Suits Stay on target In the increasingly online and social world of video games, chat services have carved out a nice little cottage industry from themselves allowing distant friends to communicate with each other. These days, the chat service to beat is Discord, who you may remember as the platform that let Ninja and Drake play Fortnite together.After initially stumbling with mobile MOBAs and pre-Game Center ways of engaging with iOS games, the brains behind Discord finally struck gold by pivoting towards chat servers. And now they’ve got free and subscribing customers in pretty much everywhere in the world except China.Discord has also become highly popular among teens. And at a recent brunch we got to sit down with the company to learn about some trends they’ve been seeing among their young audience (trends gathered through a third-party poll since Discord thankfully doesn’t data-mine customers). 1,875 kids between age 14 and 18 responded, with males making up 66 percent and females making up 33 percent. Their answers may surprise you, but again, that is what teens tend to do.At least for the foreseeable future, Discord is primarily built for online multiplayer gaming sessions. If a feature well-suited for more casual chat apps, like sending GIFs, negatively impacts gaming then it’s not implemented. Many even use Discord to circumvent the failings of other gaming platforms like the Nintendo Switch and its disappointing online communication features.However, teens aren’t just using the service for gaming. They’re using it to do homework together or simultaneously watch Netflix. While Discord does have public servers, customers gravitate towards private ones where they can just talk to friends. This cuts down on the potential toxic behavior of strangers. 80 percent of respondents said they chat with people they know, which is a shift from early days of the internet where naive young people seemed much more willing to interact with strangers.That’s great news for clueless parents, but ultimately they have to have faith in Discord itself to keep children safe. Outside of just stealing your kids phones and manually changing their profile, there are no parental control features, just guides to read. Discord complies with law enforcement and is quick to take action against flagged accounts. Servers from trusted partners like specific game publishers get verified. Discord also takes down accounts found to be under the 13-year-old age minimum. But several parents at the brunch still expressed interest in true robust parental control features.We didn’t just gain insight on teen’s safety, though. We also learned about their interests. Users are treating Discord like a social network, 59 percent chat while only 41 percent post on social media. Chat is joined at the hip with playing video games, 70 percent chat with friends while gaming (or 80 percent if you game every day). Boys are also more likely to chat while gaming compared to girls, 76 percent vs 57. But if you consider how shamefully hostile the gaming community still is towards women that’s sadly not too surprising. 56 percent of respondents reported seeing hate speech, regardless of their own gender.Other information includes the fact that over half of respondents watch eSports, while 38 percent don’t watch real sports. Budgets were also surprisingly varied, with 59 percent spending less than $100 per year on games while 11 percent spend over $1,000. Average times spent gaming were pretty evenly spread between “less than 30 minutes” and “over four hours.”But the most intriguing tidbit to me is the fact that even after growing up with them, and even after hardcore mobile gaming product releases like Razer Phone, today’s teens still don’t see mobile phones as devices primarily for games. Only 15 percent felt that way. 38 percent say phones are mostly for chatting while 17 percent use them for music. 46 percent of girls enjoy mobile games versus only 24 percent of boys. But who knows if the smash, school-ruining success of Fortnite mobile last month has altered the data from this February poll.I’m no parent, but I do rest easier believing that video games and chatting online aren’t totally ruining today’s youth. Discord’s poll supports that belief well enough. The kids sound alright!Let us know what you like about Geek by taking our survey.last_img read more