Independent gaming chat platform Discord might soon be not-so independent, because multiple reports claim the company have been talking to potential buyers. Supposedly, Discord are chatting with companies who could pay more than $10 billion (around £7.2 billion) for the platform, and Microsoft are reportedly amongst the big corps in the running to lay down that whopping amount of cash.
According to a VentureBeat report published yesterday, Discord are exploring a sale "in the wake of interest from multiple parties". Their sources claim any sale is expected to be worth at least $10 billion, and they say Discord are already in final negotiations with an interested party, though a deal hasn't been signed just yet.
A few hours after VentureBeat, Bloomberg (watch out for the paywall) reported that the giant tech megacorp Microsoft were in talks to buy the chat platform, but they say that "no deal is imminent". One of Bloomberg's sources claims that Discord is "more likely to go public than sell itself", which means the company would sell shares to new investors.
I wouldn't be surprised if Microsoft wanted to buy Discord. The Xbox company are well into buying up all the games things they can, the most recent of which being ZeniMax Media, Bethesda's parent company (which we started seeing the effects of last week with the likes of Fallout and Skyrim hitting Xbox Game Pass).
Microsoft also own Rare, Obsidian, Mojang, inXile, amongst many, many others. And that's not to mention the other social platforms they own, like LinkedIn and Skype. It's probably a good time to mention that games industry consolidation is certainly a thing to worry about, perhaps even moreso when the company wot owns all the games could soon own where you talk about them to your pals.
Then there's Skype to consider. Microsoft bought Skype in 2011 for $8.5 bil (around £6 mil), when it was already a not-great video call software, and they managed to make it worse. I have some concerns that if Microsoft attempted to integrate Discord into things they'd just turn it into rubbish bloatware I uninstall everytime Windows forces it onto my devices.
That's not to say that Microsoft buying Discord would be some terrible, horrible thing. If they leave it to work as it does now, that'd be fine. Plus it could be nice for Discord - which is still a small company, despite the millions of people who use the software - to have the backing of something much larger. It could mean merging Discord's premium membership Nitro (which lets you stream in higher quality to your friends, upload larger files to channels and that sort of thing) with Game Pass, which would be nice for people who use those things.
These are all just thoughts on reports, though. Nothing is confirmed, but we'll keep you up to date if that changes.