Discord reportedly staying independent, denying rumored Microsoft buyout

(Image credit: Discord)

While it was recently mooted that Microsoft might acquire gaming-chat platform Discord for $10 billion, it appears that Discord has rejected the buyout, according to a new report by the Wall Street Journal.

Citing people familiar with the matter, the report states that, "Discord Inc. has halted talks to sell itself to potential suitors including Microsoft Corp." Epic Games and Amazon were reportedly among the other prospective buyers.

It's believed that Discord will stay independent for the time being, with an eye on a potential IPO (initial public offering) at some point in the future.

During its most recent funding round in December 2020, Discord Inc. was valued at $7 billion, making Microsoft's alleged offer well above the platform's market worth, even outstripping the $8.5 billion it paid for Skype in 2011.

Why Discord's decision benefits gamers

Although it's easy to see why Microsoft would want to replace its janky Xbox Game Chat with the superior Discord platform, it's more difficult to see what Discord would get out of the deal in the long run. 

As of December 2020, Discord has 140 million active users across all gaming platforms, as detailed by Backlinko – a number which has grown exponentially with the recent rise of cross-platform gaming.

In a sense, Discord's alleged rejection of Microsoft's bid acts as an assurance to its users that it will not mess up what is already a well-functioning service by allowing a massive corporation to dictate its future.

In a perfect world, the decision to remain independent might also see Discord strive to bring full-featured versions of its app to gaming consoles, allowing users to side-step Discord's mobile app for direct, console-based chat. At present, a Discord app is available for Xbox consoles, though it only allows users to see what game you're currently playing.

Stephen Lambrechts
Senior Journalist, Phones and Entertainment

Stephen primarily covers phones and entertainment for TechRadar's Australian team, and has written professionally across the categories of tech, film, television and gaming in both print and online for over a decade. He's obsessed with smartphones, televisions, consoles and gaming PCs, and has a deep-seated desire to consume all forms of media at the highest quality possible. 

He's also likely to talk a person’s ear off at the mere mention of Android, cats, retro sneaker releases, travelling and physical media, such as vinyl and boutique Blu-ray releases. Right now, he's most excited about QD-OLED technology, The Batman and Hellblade 2: Senua's Saga.