I use Discord on a daily basis for chatting with friends and playing computer games. We congregate on our private server and relentlessly rib each other over the app’s voice chat function. It’s out of love, I swear. Having used Discord since the beginning of the pandemic, I decided to give the app’s monthly subscription service a try. I wanted to know exactly what the paid version offers and if it’s worth the additional cost. Although I definitely have some opinions about the monthly service, I’m not exactly sure I’m the right kind of person for it. Let’s dive right in.
Discord is a free chat app that’s popular among Twitch streamers, game developers, and so on. According to Digital Trends, Discord has up to 250 million users, which is absolutely wild. The app allows you to chat via text or voice and share live footage of your gameplay. It’s similar to apps like Zoom and Skype, but I find it easier to navigate and it’s designed specifically for the gaming crowd. Most people use Discord to talk to friends, but it’s also a way to socialize with folks from various communities and bond over common interests. I regularly haunt the server for Devour, a spooky co-op game, for updates and artwork.
Nitro Basic vs. Nitro
IDG / Ashley Biancuzzo
Discord offers two tiers of its monthly subscription service: Nitro Basic and Nitro. The Basic version features 50MB uploads, custom emoji’s, and a unique Nitro badge on your profile. Nitro, on the other hand, offers more substantial upgrades like 500MB uploads, HD video streaming, access to activities, custom profiles, and so on. The Basic version costs $2.99 a month and Nitro costs $9.99. Me? I decided to go full hog and subscribe to the higher-tier version (aka Nitro) of the monthly subscription service. After having used it for about a month, the Basic version would’ve been enough for me. Nitro has too many features I just don’t ever use.
I like having an animated GIF as my profile picture, but that’s about it
When I subscribed to Discord’s Nitro service, I was watching a lot of Iron Chef. Since the service allows me to use an animated GIF as a profile picture, I chose none other than the show’s Chairman. Is it funny? Absolutely. Is it worth $9.99 a month? No. Unless you’re regularly taking advantage of all the features Nitro offers like sharing higher-quality videos and uploading bigger files, it’s not the right service for a casual Discord user like me. I hang out with only a couple of people on Discord and I don’t often live stream my gaming or upload massive files. That said, if you’re a Twitch streamer, Nitro’s absolutely worth it.
Activities is a fun feature, but I wouldn’t use it often
Nitro unlocks a feature called Activities, which allows you to play basic party games like Poker or Chess or watch YouTube videos with your friends. It’s kind of like Jackbox, but the games aren’t as interesting and there isn’t much of a selection. Jackbox has it down to a science now whereas Activities still feels more like an experiment. I like the idea behind this feature, but it’s not what I use Discord for. I go on Discord to chat with friends while gaming. It’s not the place I go when I need my entertainment needs met. I go to Steam or Epic Games for those needs. It’s more about socialization for me.
Nitro is a better fit for Twitch streamers or bigger Discord servers
If you run a large Discord server, Nitro is absolutely worth it. You’ll need all of those features to keep your community engaged and entertained. Me? I run a server of five people. Although I use the server on a daily basis, I really don’t need all the bells and whistles. It’s just too much for someone who logs in to chat with a few select people. $9.99 is a steep monthly price for something I hardly used. Honestly, all I need is the basics and that’s exactly what Discord offers at the get-go.
Ashley is a professional writer and editor with a strong background in tech and pop culture. She has written for high traffic websites such as Polygon, Kotaku, StarWars.com, and Nerdist. In her off time, she enjoys playing video games, reading science fiction novels, and hanging out with her rescue greyhound.