Discord, the explosively popular chat/voice app that saved us all from Skype and brought IRC-style communities back to the forefront of the internet, will soon allow users to stream their games to a small group of individuals. The new feature, dubbed “Go Live,” lets users broadcast a game to any server voice channel containing up to 10 people, starting next Thursday, August 15. Unlike Discord’s existing screen share feature, which broadcasts the user’s entire desktop to other members of a call, Go Live captures directly from the game executable, which should result in a much more stable, better-looking experience.
Normal Discord users can broadcast at 720p, while Nitro and Nitro Classic subscribers can stream at up to 4K/60 FPS or 1080p/60 FPS, respectively. Multiple users can even broadcast to the same voice channel at once, which means that folk can hang out even when they’re not all watching/playing the same thing. If BlockMastah2 wants to play Tetris Effect while Parat0Ad tracks down Diablos in Monster Hunter World, FriendMaker3000 can jump into the voice channel and hang out with both of them, while watching their choice of either stream. Provided, of course, that the server owner has enabled Go Live in the first place — as a server-level feature, Go Live can be enabled/disabled at the admin’s leisure.
Go Live streams are supposedly extremely low latency: The Verge’s Bijan Stephen was shown a demo that was “stable and just about real time.” This could be a huge boon for streamers that have traditionally used screen share to send gameplay to their stream co-hosts, often with mixed results. Theoretically at least, someone could use Go Live to stream to their co-hosts in a Discord voice channel, while also streaming to a traditional service like Mixer, Twitch, or Youtube with OBS or XSplit. You’d need a pretty beefy computer to do it, but it should be possible.
Speaking of beefy computers, Linux machines and people with Macs won’t be able to stream through Go Live, unfortunately. They will be able to watch the streams through a Discord instance running in a browser, so at least they won’t miss out on all the fun. Of course, when running Linux or owning a Mac, missing out on fun is part of the whole experience.
I regularly watch several streamers whose chats average seven to 10 users at a time, so it’ll be interesting to see how much, or even if, Go Live takes a bite out of Twitch’s prevalence among small communities. Go Live doesn’t seem explicitly designed to take that bite, mind you, it’s merely an added bit of convenience on top of Discord’s already sizable pile of convenient things. Server Folders are another recent Convenient Thing™ added to Discord, which allow cowards like me to organize all of the servers I joined out of social niceness but don’t actually look at or participate in. Now, instead of having to drag those servers to the bottom of my server list, watching the scroll bar grow in tandem with my shame, I can now collapse all of them into a single, haunting icon. I presume that people who aren’t too nice on the internet also make fine use out of Server Folders, thought I can’t imagine how exactly.