As reported by Variety, a store beta will be offered to 50,000 Canadian users—who will be selected at random via the platform's Discord Nitro subscription service.
A new tab named the Discord Store will become available to those users—where individual games can be purchased—alongside a suite of free games, which will include the likes of Saints Row: The Third, System Shock Enhanced Edition, Metro: Last Light and Super Meat Boy at launch. The first games on the store comprise Into the Breach, Hollow Knight, Dead Cells and Frostpunk.
The Verge reports the Discord Store won't house the same number of games as, say, Steam, but will instead aim for a "local bookstore" catalogue of staff-picked choices. Likewise, its 'First on Discord' initiative is designed to give users access to 90-day exclusives, and a universal library. Publisher Raw Fury's Bad North will be a launch title for the initiative, arriving on Steam, GOG and other platforms after the exclusivity period ends. Variety says the universal library will allow users to launch any game on their computer via Discord—it sounds similar to how Steam boots up other launchers and games.
Chatting to Variety, Discord's chief marketing officer Eros Resmini says: "We’ve actually been mulling the idea for a long time. We wanted to build an amazing platform that people wanted to use every day and we wanted to grow that platform before focusing too much on monetization.
"We now have 150 million users, so timing felt right. We knew we didn’t want to sell ads or user data, so we had two options left: cosmetics or content. Nitro was our attempt at cosmetics, now we’re adding games to that subscription and building a retail store too."
It's not clear how long the beta will run, but we've reached out to Discord itself and will report back when we know more.