Discord's been around the block for a while, but the popular messaging app continues to grow in 2022 with a slew of new features and more ways to access its excellent voice chat that have made it more essential than ever no matter what kind of gaming you like. That's why it won our Gaming Tech of the Year award, at the TechRadar Choice Awards 2022 sponsored by Sky Broadband.
A platform where like-minded folks can form their own servers, events and gaming sessions, Discord at this point feels like it has a group for everyone. From servers centered around small groups of friends, to enormous wellsprings of resources for online games like Overwatch 2 and Final Fantasy 14, Discord continues to be a cornerstone of online socializing and a place to be passionate about your favorite games and topics.
And with Discord Voice integration now on Xbox Series X|S consoles (and coming to PS5 soon), it's become easier than ever to chat with friends during cross-platform play sessions. That's excellent for games with cross-platform online play enabled, such as Minecraft, Fortnite and Rocket League.
Why 2022 was Discord's year
The aforementioned Discord Voice integration on consoles is really just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to Discord's success in 2022. In October, a slate of new features, including the wonderful Discord Activities, came to the platform.
Activities has injected something into Discord that we didn't really know we wanted until it was there. In a nutshell, Activities are simple games and apps that can be launched while in voice chats with friends. The games have a common icebreaker vibe, like the mini-golf-centric Putt Party and the Pictionary-esque Sketch Heads.
Another great addition is the YouTube Watch Together app, letting parties of friends queue up and watch videos in sync. This sidesteps the need to livestream your display, eliminating choppy quality caused by lower bitrates.
Another addition to Discord's repertoire is the new App Directory. Essentially, this provides a platform for developers to host apps and add-ons right on Discord itself, eschewing the need to browse and download from third-party sites. This is massive for communities of people looking to grow their servers into something more substantial. Official Netflix and SoundCloud apps are some early additions, along with the absurdly popular Midjourney, a bot that can generate art using simple command prompts.
Discord isn't just settling, then. It's evolving; providing even more ways for servers to communicate, participate and grow. As a result, it's among our favorite pieces of tech in 2022, and we're very much looking forward to seeing how the platform continues to flourish in the years to come.
Sign up to receive daily breaking news, reviews, opinion, analysis, deals and more from the world of tech.
Rhys is TRG's Hardware Editor, and has been part of the TechRadar team for more than two years. Particularly passionate about high-quality third-party controllers and headsets, as well as the latest and greatest in fight sticks and VR, Rhys strives to provide easy-to-read, informative coverage on gaming hardware of all kinds. As for the games themselves, Rhys is especially keen on fighting and racing games, as well as soulslikes and RPGs.