Ads are coming to Discord, and gamers are already planning to block them

From PC World: Discord has emerged as a de facto standard chat protocol for gamers, whether it’s actually integrated into their games or not. And it’s also becoming widespread for chat groups in all kinds of interests, and even direct customer support for some small companies. It’s also about to be inundated with that inescapable staple of online life: advertising.

Ars Technica and the Wall Street Journal report that users will begin seeing “Sponsored Quests” sometime in the next week. These are alerts for in-game rewards that can be earned by sharing a live game streaming session, which will appear in the lower left corner of the screen.

So for example, Discord can see you’re playing Fortnite, you get an alert to start a Quest by broadcasting your play session to your friends, they tune into the stream, and you all get a code to redeem an in-game item. The company has reportedly been courting game developers on the system for quite some time, with the ability to target users by age, geographic location, and which games they play. Users can opt out of individualized recommendations, but not the ads themselves.

It’s all fairly on-brand for the gaming-heavy Discord audience, and the company ran a trial version of the program last year. But a rose by any other name would smell as sweet, and an advertisement that you label a Sponsored Quest will still piss off gamers, hundreds of millions of which are active on the platform. Injecting advertising into the service, even if it is a free one, is bound to cause tension.

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