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Discord is now on Xbox for everyone, but setup takes a few steps

The company says gamers are used to following multi-step instructions

(The Washington Post illustration; Xbox; Discord; iStock)

Discord, the voice chat app popular with gamers, has now made its way to Xbox. The one catch? The integration takes a few steps. Users will have to follow several instructions, accepting prompts across multiple apps, to enable Discord voice chat on Xbox consoles.

Xbox Insider, a program for users to try out software and games early, received the feature first on July 20, to Xbox Series X, S, and Xbox One consoles. On Sept. 13, Discord and Xbox announced everyone can now use the feature.

Despite the multiple steps, Discord said gamers in a testing phase did not find it difficult to follow.

From July: Discord is coming to Xbox. It just won't be one-click easy.

“We did test it with the [Xbox] Insiders, and we did not see any issues with the step by step process,” said Cherry Park, Discord’s head of platform ecosystems marketing, in an interview with The Washington Post. “For the most part, it’s because we were originally voice chat for gamers. Gaming is in our DNA. It is definitely one of the main reasons people use us.”

To enable Discord on Xbox, gamers must first install the Xbox mobile app, log in and link their Xbox account to their Discord account. Then, open a voice channel on Discord and tap the option in the Discord app to transfer to Xbox. The Xbox app will open up again, asking users to confirm the change. Finally, your Discord conversation should connect to your console. After doing this once, Discord should work on Xbox.

The Xbox app will ask for permission to know which Discord servers the user is in and see information about direct messages. In a tongue-in-cheek line, it says linking Discord to the app does not give Xbox permission to “buy you a nice seafood dinner.”

Mobile users could already use Xbox and Discord in conjunction with each other by using the mobile app while playing on Xbox, for example. PlayStation and Nintendo Switch users can do the same, though speaking on Discord while listening to a game’s sounds can be a suboptimal experience. This integration lets Xbox gamers avoid that workaround for a smoother experience. Discord did not say when its app might come to other console makers.

“Voice chat on console was one of our number one requested features, especially from Xbox players,” Park said. “We really want to unify all gamers to come together regardless of what platform they’re on.”

Park said the Discord safety team is ready to support the new influx of users joining the service via Xbox, and make sure users are not violating terms of service with safety issues or harmful language. Users will also be able to report issues to Discord.

“Safety is a vital priority for our company and 15% of all Discord employees work in this area,” said Kellyn Slone, Discord product communications group manager. “We use a mix of proactive and reactive measures which include automated search tools, empowering community moderators to uphold our policies, and also providing reporting mechanisms for users and community moderators to surface violations for us to action.”

Discord launched in 2015 in a beta testing phase and found fans among gamers who liked the platform’s anonymity, reliability and focus on voice and text over video. Discord has flourished in the pandemic, growing its monthly active users to 100 million by July 2020. Before its integration with Xbox, Discord was predominantly used by PC gamers. The company worked with some game developers and Xbox to fine-tune its service on consoles.