I always thought the backstory of discord was fascinating—in short, a failing game development studio pivoted into building a platform that would foster the social atmosphere of gamers.
Basically, they realized that making games weren’t a good use of their time—games weren’t in short supply. But, communication platforms were—thus Discord provided a simple yet powerful system for connecting within gaming communities.
I still remember the first time that I joined a discord server, it was so simple—I didn’t even have to create an account starting out, I was able to access the small server immediately—a server filled with other kids my age that was just forming friendships with other people who played the same game. Only when it was time for me to close out the tab did Discord prompt me to create an account in order to save my username and place on the server.
The onboarding experience was beautiful—it was refreshing to be able to almost fully use the service without needing an account. Then to just make an account and still have control over everything that was done via the trial user; was profound.
Jason Citron is the man behind it all—unsurprisingly Jason found his breakthrough success building a social platform for gamers called OpenFeint along with his studio called Aurora Feint—which also happened to be named after the 2D mobile puzzle block game developed by Danielle Cassley and Jason Citron for iOS in 2008.
He then sold OpenFeint to a Japanese social network company called Gree for $104 million in 2011. After selling OpenFeint he tried to enter the game development industry under the studio ‘Hammer & Chisel’ in 2012. The studio went on to launch the ‘Fates Forever’ mobile tablet game in 2014. But, I’ve never heard of that game except for when looking up the history of Discord.
I find it most interesting that OpenFeint was a social network for his game Aurora Feint—which he and Danielle Cassley sold for a lot of money. But now, he has essentially created a global social platform for every game that exists. He was 26 when he started, now he is 35. He definitely made the best of his twenties.