Discord, the voice and video chat service for gamers that most recently expanded its scope, is joining the long list of free services that use ads to support their platform. The move is a turnaround for a company that has long held an anti-advertising view.

Ads should start appearing on Discord within a week, The Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday. Ad spaces will be offered to game developers as a way to get Discord users and their friends to play their games, earning developers money from sales, in-app purchases, and in-game ads.

Instead of standard ads, however, Discord ads will appear in the form of “sponsored missions,” Discord senior vice president Peter Sellis said in a blog post. publish last month. When someone streams on Discord and is playing a game with a sponsored mission, they will have the opportunity to complete the mission while others watch. Viewers can then join the game and also complete the quest for rewards.

Discord has reportedly said that it will target ads based on the user's gameplay, age, and geographic location, but you can disable their personalization in the app's settings.

Here's what we know so far about sponsored missions.

Sponsored missions are not new

Sponsored quests are something Discord has tried before. The chat service collaborated with Epic Games and Lucasfilm Games for a sponsored quest in May 2023. Players could share Fortnite gameplay with their friends on a Discord stream, complete quests, and earn Star Wars-inspired skins that were exclusive to the event. It's likely that the new sponsored missions will work in a similar way.

Currently, you can disable quests in the app's privacy settings. However, this setting may be changed or removed when sponsored missions are officially released.

In addition to adding advertising, Discord will also increase its efforts to sell things like sponsored profiles in its store. This initiative began last week with the launch of the Valorant collection, which includes avatar decorations and profile effects inspired by the game. These sponsored collections will join the profile already available in the store.

The move to advertising comes amid an effort to generate more revenue for the chat service. Discord fired 17% of its workforce in January. The company attracted many investors but never turned a profit despite huge revenue gains in recent years and hundreds of millions of registered users.

During a interview with Bloomberg, Discord CEO James Citron said that Discord expects “all games to offer quests on Discord.” He also told Bloomberg that Discord will likely file for an initial public offering at some point and become a publicly traded company.

For now, Discord probably hopes that the quests and collections sponsored in its store are better than the ones company game storewhich lasted two years before being eliminated in 2021.

How will sponsored missions work?

Developers who pay for a sponsored Discord mission hope to encourage a user's friends who are watching the stream to also play the game. A sponsored mission will appear, a game user will be able to participate in the mission through the Discord interface, and once they complete the mission, other users in the stream will have the opportunity to take on the challenge. After finishing a mission, users will be able to claim rewards to redeem in-game.

Discord promotional image for quests

When sponsored missions are available, players will see a pop-up during the broadcast and can interact with it.


What will the sponsored missions be like?

After you start streaming a game that has a sponsored mission, while your friends watch, you will receive a request to join the mission. When finished, another pop-up will appear informing you that the mission has been completed and the rewards are available for redemption. People watching the stream may also receive pop-ups inviting them to complete the quest once the streamer ends. The exact graphics will be available after the launch of the sponsored missions.

Discord screen discussing Sponsored Missions Discord screen discussing Sponsored Missions

Discord allows users to opt out of sponsored quests in its current iteration, but this may change once the quests are officially released.

Screenshot by Joe Hindy/CNET

Can I disable sponsored missions?

Yes for now. Open Discord and navigate to the Privacy & Security section of the settings. There, you should see a selection for In-game rewards (also known as quests). Turn this setting off.

But be aware that this setting will likely change when sponsored missions are released.

“Users can opt out of custom promotions for quests based on activity or data shared with Discord,” a Discord representative said in an email. “However, users will still be able to see quests if they navigate to their gift inventory and/or through contextual entry points such as a user's friends' activity. They will also have the option to hide an in-app promotion for a quest specific game or game they're not interested in.”

When will Discord launch sponsored quests?

Discord didn't give an exact launch date, but told The Wall Street Journal it would be sometime during the first week of April.

Will I see advertising if I don't stream?

We won't know until the update is fully released. However, it appears that most of the advertising will only be shown to people using Discord's streaming feature. But if you don't stream, you may still see pop-ups, as Discord announces events through notifications.