After trying and failing to get popular chatting platform Discord for $10 billion, Microsoft has opted for the next best thing: direct integration of Discord’s voice chat capabilities into Xbox consoles.
The news arrived Wednesday on the Xbox Blog, and it explained that for now, access to Discord will be exclusive to the optional “Xbox Insider” tier for early, beta, and preview console OS updates. Already rolling out in waves to Xbox Insiders today, this update adds a new tip to the system’s Chat sidebar: “Try Discord Voice on Xbox today!”
Simplifying your life on Discord adds some complications
Since its debut in 2015, Discord has exploded in popularity as a game-friendly chat platform on PCs and smartphones. One of the main differences from a service like Slack, which looks and works similarly, is Discord’s smart links to existing gaming networks. The idea is that wherever you’re playing a game, Discord can broadcast that state to friends via links with other platforms’ APIs (“playing stray On PlayStation, “LFP in . format world of warcraft“A session is broadcast from Beagle 2 on Twitch”). Users can switch between live messages, game-specific text chat rooms, real-time audio channels, and even video-sharing services to coordinate their next online gaming sessions.
But what if you want to talk between your Discord voice chat friends while using dedicated headphones on Xbox, PlayStation, or Switch? Until this week, you can’t do this directly on any console. Your best bet was to find a headset that supports simultaneous Bluetooth inputs, then connect it to both your console and your uploaded Discord smartphone. (Alternatively, you can do as I do: put the smartphone’s earpiece into one ear for Discord, then place the console headphones on top of it. I don’t recommend this).
Unfortunately, Discord’s rollout on Xbox this week is a bit limited. The biggest problem is the lack of an official Discord app or interface on Xbox. You’ll need to keep a smartphone handy to start “handing over” your Discord session. Prepare for the annoying setup process for the first time.
If you have an updated Xbox on the Insider OS path, its new “Try Discord Voice” prompt will start the account sync process, which requires using the Discord mobile app to take a picture of the QR code that the Xbox displays. (You’ll need to re-do this if you’ve done this before, since it adds a new level of credentials to voice chat.) With this applied, when you’re about to join a voice channel on Discord, a new prompt will appear “Try Voice Chat on the console.) control”.
Clicking this will create else Delivery to Microsoft’s dedicated Xbox app on iOS or Android. Yes, if you want this to work, you need to install the Xbox app on your mobile device (and Discord will suggest doing this, if you haven’t done so yet). This facilitates the main technical aspect of forwarding all Discord audio to your Xbox.