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Discord: the future of the fusion between gaming and fashion

How the most loved streaming app has changed digital fashion

Discord: the future of the fusion between gaming and fashion How the most loved streaming app has changed digital fashion

Last month the new Balenciaga collection came out on Fortnite with clothes and accessories for skins, Gucci has collaborated with Animal Crossing, Roblox, Pokémon Go, The Sims, Genies, Tennis Clash and League of Legends only in the last year, creating exclusive content for each domain, Burberry was the first luxury brand to partner with Twitch to stream Spring Summer 2021 and even Dior has announced that it will do the same next September for the men's collection. The pandemic has highlighted the pressing need to build a virtual catwalk, an accessible space to retain new buyers at the time of the collapse of the markets, therefore several brands have moved their marketing efforts in the digital sphere, focusing in particular on the world of gaming, the favorite hobby of millennials worth $ 175 billion.

In the fusion of fashion and gaming, social networks that started out as multiplayer platforms reach their full potential within a scenario in which it is not only increasingly difficult to define the boundary between fashion and video games, but also between the online and offline worlds. A world enslaved in many ways by the same social networks that only a few days ago saw a historic setback with the 8-hour downtime of Instagram, Whatsapp and Facebook, opening up scenarios in which it could soon become a necessity to find new platforms, such as Discord. After becoming famous in trainer resell circles, the free service created in 2015 by Jason Citron and Stanislav Vishnevsky has experienced a second youth thanks to Fortnite, generating 130 million dollars by 2020, with estimates and forecasts pointing to it being the new Twitch.

The app, founded in 2015 by Jason Citron and Stan Vishnevskiy, presents itself as a highly customizable space, where you can create communities around specific interests in full privacy and freedom from algorithms, with which users can talk with friends or strangers in real time via voice, text or video chat on a linear interface reminiscent of Myspace. After a turbulent period in 2017 when a group of neo-Nazi supremacists 'The Alt's Right' used it to organize the Charlottesville protests, Discord has more than 140 million registered users and recently turned down Microsoft's takeover offer of $ 10 billion. 

The Trust and Safety team said it had shut down more than 2,000 servers with violent or extremist content in the last six months of 2020, but raids by political groups or pseudo-such, although most of them migrated to Telegram hoping for end-to-end encryption secrecy, are so common that users themselves have started creating their own bots as an anti-raid initiative to solve the problem. It is extremely common to find offensive or at least controversial content, even in groups that have more users, such as the mame-based page 'Gates of autism', which has 185,934 members and which has a profile photo of one of the favorite memes of fascist American groups, Pape The Frog. Just search the chat history to see how many times the term 'fagot', explicitly sexual gf, racist jokes occur.

Nowadays, although most of the subscribers use the pages specifically for gaming, the platform is also widely used for non-gaming purposes: commenting on games, discussing finance, taking online lessons, creating study groups or book club.The space reserved for fashion within the platform is still a niche, but the servers tagged fashion are constantly increasing. The most popular pages are those reserved for subcultures close to the world of gamers, in particular streetwear such as 'Chrome Farts', 'Sneakers Club', 'Techwear Germany', outfit review pages such as 'Fashion of Discord' or 'Fashioncord', in which fashion shows and editorials are discussed, and more and more brands are trying to create their own space by opening a channel, such as Allsaints and the reselling site StockX. Launching a Discord campaign isn't easy: Discord isn't designed to be a social network like TikTok and Instagram are, it doesn't have any discoverability or virality features. So even though the platform boasts more than 150 million monthly active users, they are scattered across thousands of smaller servers, which means that even a well-managed marketing campaign would not get visibility outside the servers created by the brands themselves, especially since the app doesn't allow advertising and the revenue comes entirely from Nitro, the premium membership that provides global access to custom emojis, animated avatars, server upgrades.

So, although Discord does not have marketing potential comparable to Instagram, Tik Tok or Twitch to date, it remains the best place where brands can incentivize gamers to purchase tools for skins and keep themselves actively updated on the latest gaming news. But in the near future where most shopping will take place online, retail will become experiential and brands and stores will aim to turn shoppers into brand enthusiasts. Features such as those of Discord could significantly contribute to making the shopping experience "phygital", a marketing term that describes the intention to combine a physical store and the digital experience, with the aim of creating an integrated ecosystem more and more widespread, which winks at the Metaverse predicted by Zuckerberg.

Maybe soon we will be shopping in a hybrid virtual space where real people coexist simultaneously, wearing special headphones and glasses, with avatars trying on clothes and paying by digital currencies. In a reality where living actively is increasingly difficult and contradictory, apps like Discord allow us to experience a parallel reality as likely as possible without disturbing quantum physics.