Discord and Guilded let you create public and private servers to chat with friends while playing online. We've tested both platforms to help you discover which one should serve as your community’s digital home.
Visit Site at Discord
Visit Site at Guilded
Whether strategizing with teammates or just chatting with friends, Discord is an excellent multimedia messaging platform for gamers and non-gamers, alike.
While nowhere near as popular as Discord, Guilded servers provide powerful tools for organizing and communicating with people in your gaming communities.
For years, gamers, tech nerds, and anyone else who is extremely online has known that the internet is a great communication tool. With the internet, we can connect with family members during a pandemic, or suffer our bosses’ bad jokes in a virtual reality metaverse. Ultimately, the people matter; the internet just creates the paths to them.
However, those online tools also matter. Discord and Guilded both let gamers create their own chat servers for talking with friends. They help maintain preexisting online communities, as well as foster new ones. They basically serve as a digital home, so it’s important you know what you’re getting into before you plant your roots. If you want to stay chatty with friends online, for video games or otherwise, which app should you pick?
A chat platform simply needs to get out of the way so that the conversations, the real purpose, can shine. That’s true for work tools like Slack, as well as gamer tools, such as Discord and Guilded. Fortunately, you can’t go wrong with either service. Discord and Guilded are virtually identical, to the point where you can import your Discord server settings into Guilded without skipping a beat. For more in-depth detail, check out our explainer What Is Discord and How Do You Use It?
Both servers present you with a large, main space for viewing current conversations, as well as side panels for browsing the different servers you’ve joined and seeing other online members. Discord’s interface is a little messier, but only because Discord’s livelier communities have more servers worth checking out. Both apps let you create public servers or private servers that require invitations. Both let you deputize moderators to keep your community clean.
Discord and Guilded also let you create new channels within your server to help focus communication, but each service approaches organizing them in slightly different ways. With Discord, you can write in text channels, talk in audio channels, or stream and send video messages. You can have up to 500 channels and separate them into 50 categories. Meanwhile, Guilded offers more specific (bordering on niche) dedicated channel types, such as announcements channels, message board channels, or documents channels.
All a gamer chat platform must do is help you and your teammates discuss League of Legends or Overwatch strategies before the match begins. However, some nifty extras make all the difference when selecting the platform that best fits your squad’s needs.
You can use Discord and Guilded on the desktop via dedicated apps, access them via web browsers, or download their Android and iOS apps to a mobile device. Due to its overwhelming popularity, Discord directly integrates into your PlayStation Network or Xbox Live accounts, so you can use it while gaming on consoles—a huge bonus. Other integrations, such as Twitch live streaming and Patreon crowdfunding, work with both Discord and Guilded.
Discord and Guilded are both free to use, but Discord sells two premium tiers. For $5 per month or $50 per year, Discord Nitro Classic users can change nametags, upgrade their profile badge, and share custom emojis across servers. For $10 per month or $100 per year, Discord Nitro subscribers can upload 100MB files and “boost” servers to unlock premium benefits for anyone. You can also buy individual boosts separately.
Guilded has no premium tier. You can subscribe to individual servers if the owners enable it, and partner servers can receive special perks. Still, you can enjoy everything Guilded has to offer, including 1080p/60fps video streaming with 256kbps audio, for free. With Discord, free users can only stream at 720p/30fps with 96kbps audio, and must pay for higher quality.
Guilded’s most intriguing extra feature, though, is its focus on esports. Considering how much esports rely on synergized team communication and engaged larger communities, this is a smart approach for a gamer chat app to take. You can search for upcoming tournaments, read top players’ stats, and enjoy tools specifically tailored for individual competitive games, such as Apex Legends and Knockout City.
This one comes down to subjective taste, because you may find Discord’s console integration way more useful than Guilded’s free, high-quality video streaming and esports tools. Still, both services are about even when it comes to unique signature features.
We can’t stress enough how any social chat service lives or dies by the strength of its communities, and this is where Discord pulls ahead from Guilded. Chances are that you’ve heard of Discord. More than a quarter billion people use Discord. Microsoft tried to spend billions of dollars for Discord.
With so many folks all together in one space, you can find and join any collaborative community you can think of on Discord, from diversity advocacy groups to Nintendo fans. Beyond gaming, people use Discord to study homework, watch movies, or listen to Spotify together. A single Discord server can have up to 500,000 members total and 25,000 members online at once. The fact that a server could even potentially hit a limit so high speaks to how many people use Discord.
With just a fraction of that userbase (tens of thousands vs. tens of millions), Guilded can’t help but feel less lively as a result. This matters less if all you care about is talking with friends, but bouncing back and forth between old and new communities make these apps special. Even without the dedicated esports features, you would probably have an easier time organizing a tournament on Discord simply because you could reach out to so many more potential participants.
Guilded was recently purchased by another gaming juggernaut, Roblox. Perhaps with those considerably extra resources at its disposal, Guilded’s fight may become more competitive in the future.
In terms of judging their qualities, Discord and Guilded have more in common with dating apps than cutting-edge gaming hardware. Sure, we can talk about video quality, integrations and other perks, but ultimately the chat service that lets you communicate with the most people provides the better experience. Community is king, and therefore, so is Discord.
Overall Winner: Discord
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Jordan Minor is an Analyst on PCMag’s Apps and Gaming team, and he really just wants to use his fancy Northwestern University journalism degree to write about video games. Beyond gaming, Jordan covers coding software, dating apps, meal kits, video streaming services, website builders, and other software-related beats. He also hosts The Pop-Off, PCMag’s video game show.
Jordan was previously the senior editor for Geek.com, and a PCMag intern before that. He has also written for Kotaku, The A.V. Club, and Paste Magazine, and is currently working on a book about the history of video games. He is the reason everything you think you know about Street Sharks is a lie.
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