By: Nick Gambino

Discord has famously refused to allow ads on its platform, but the further we entrench ourselves in the wild west of the internet, the more we learn that tried and true revenue earners like advertisements are just smart business. Thus, Discord will follow tech companies like Netflix and allow ads…sort of.

The chat platform will start to integrate ads from game creators and publishers into streams where they are playing games that feature a “sponsored quest.” These quests are a way to get around the idea that you’re being advertised to. Players are rewarded for streaming these titles and completing specific tasks within said game.

“Quests will show up tastefully in Discord where you can opt-in to stream your game to friends and win rewards for playing,” Discord Senior Vice President of Product, Peter Sellis, said in a blog post announcing the new advertising program. “Some players will be made aware that a Quest is available, while others will discover it as their friends accept and embark on the Quest.”

Discord hosts 1.5 billion gameplay hours every single month, so the potential here is huge. And with over 60,000 game titles currently being streamed, there’s plenty to choose from. It’s a huge untapped resource for the popular chat service and has the potential of finally making them profitable.

The streaming model that nearly every entertainment company has embraced over the past decade has proven to be flawed. That’s a big reason we’ve seen a number of strikes and new unions forming over the past year. The model broke a historically profit-friendly model by depending solely on subscribers, a path which eventually dead-ends. Historically, working with advertisers and sponsors is one of the best ways to generate income. When you cut it out, you cut your throat.

“Discord has learned what many internet-based platforms have already learned, some early and some too late,” Andrew Tropeano, a technology expert with NWT Media (, said of the announcement. “And that’s that companies with a large marketing budget will always pay more than an individual monthly subscriber.”