The launch of Discord in 2015 shook the world of games, grew rapidly and now has more than 250 million users. Years later, realizing that he was being delayed, Steam reviewed his own chat system to offer a better management of the friends list.
As well as better voice quality, rich media chat and more.
But how is the experience in devices such as smartphones? Both Discord and Steam have mobile applications so gamers can stay connected with their friends permanently. So, in this article we will review Discord and Steam Chat to see which is the best application for gamers.
What are Discord and Steam Chat?
Discord is a chat application available for desktop computers and mobile devices. It is aimed specifically at gamers and encourages them to join communities to chat with like-minded people. These communities, or servers, as they are colloquially known, can be based on anything, whether related to games or not.
Discord offers text, voice and video chat, and you can also speak directly in private with your friends. It is also free. Although you can pay a subscription for Discord Nitro. It offers things like higher quality videos, larger upload limits and downloadable games, but it's certainly not a necessity.
On the other hand, Valve launched Steam in 2003 and is primarily a game distribution platform. In fact, it is the most popular online games store there is. In 2018, Steam Chat got new features designed to rival Discord.
As a result, we will focus on Steam Chat, which is a mobile application completely dedicated to Steam's friends and chat aspects. It is completely free and does not offer payment terms.
There is also a different Steam mobile application, which includes friends and chat, in addition to other features such as a store and two-factor authentication. But that is more basic. You will probably find that you want both for the full Steam experience, which is annoying.
Let's take a look at the mobile applications for Discord and Steam Chat, let's see what features they offer and what service makes it better.
Design and interface
Both Discord and Steam Chat offer modern and easy-to-use interfaces. Steam Chat is cleaner, but that is because it has fewer features than Discord. However, both are very effective.
Steam Chat consists mainly of three main sections: friends, chats and groups. And you can customize in which tab the application opens. You can add friends and particular groups in favorites and categories, which helps navigation if you have many of them. There are also useful settings such as being able to hide friends offline and only download media via WiFi.
It may take a while to get acquainted with Discord, although it is still well designed. You can swipe out the left panel to switch between groups and then move between text and voice channels. There is also a lot of customization in the settings, such as switching between a light and dark topic, changing what action sends messages. Something that Steam Chat overlooks, adjust the font scale and more.
Rich Media Chat
Online messaging has come a long way since the days of Internet Relay Chat (IRC). Sure, people still use those old school words to communicate, but they also like to send emojis, GIFs and videos.
Steam Chat has a small number of built-in custom emojis that you can use. You can also turn your Steam trading cards into emojis, which is fun if you want a theme about your favorite game, but frankly it feels like an unnecessary task. You can also use Unicode emojis by selecting them on your smartphone's keyboard.
Discord cares more about emojis. You can select all Unicode emojis from the client, but you can also use the custom ones added by the server administrator. Either within your message or as a reaction placed under someone else's message. If you have Nitro, you can use emojis from other servers of which you are a member.
GIFs, images and videos are handled in almost the same way in both applications. You can upload them directly from your mobile, or paste in a link to embed in the chat. Where Discord faces Steam Chat, the first one allows you to select GIF from your device's keyboard, while in Steam it doesn't.
Voice and video calls
Why write when you can talk? Discord supports video and voice calls for individual and group chats. We find that it is simple and reliable, it is really fast and easy to start. When you are on a voice call, you can have it so that your voice is automatically transmitted when it is detected, or by using the "push to talk" button.
And it's persistent on your device, so you can explore other applications while you continue talking.
Steam Chat offers none of this. Although the desktop version of Steam has voice calls, you can't even get any of that here. If a friend tries to call you, you will receive a message that says: "Voice chat opened", but there is no way you can join. Of course, this is not a problem if you want to keep your communication in text, but it feels like a real oversight for a modern chat application.
Discord is very focused on the groups. Swiping the left panel allows you to move between groups and then jump to text or voice channels. You can add your Discord friends in the groups or generate an urgent link to invite others. Also, you can create your own group in minutes. As a group administrator, you can control moderation, set user roles, add channels, add emojis and more.
Although the Discord desktop application has a group search functionality, so you can easily find communities to join. The mobile application does not yet support it. Therefore, if you wish to join another group, you should receive an invitation link or find one on a site like Discordbots.org. It may be a small inconvenience, but it would be nice to see this feature added to the mobile.
Steam Chat has two different tabs for chats and groups. Chats is for talking with only one person, while Groups is for gathering friends in one place. It is very easy to create a group. You can open a chat with someone and add others directly there.
Alternatively, you can go to the Groups tab and create one from scratch. Also, you can generate invitation links to send to people who do not have Steam Chat, and you can also set an expiration date to not allow abuse.
The only drawback is that Steam Chat is not compatible with public groups. On the desktop, Steam has groups for all of his games and those created by the community. They come with their own chats as standard. So these groups are a great way to connect with people with shared interests and the most popular have more than one million members. Not including them in Steam Chat is a big mistake.
Discord vs. Steam Chat: Which one is the best?
Your decision on whether to use Discord or Steam Chat could end up depending on the service that most of your friends use.
For the money, when it comes to chat games on the go, Discord is a very superior application. While Steam is still the number one destination when it comes to buying games, Steam Chat doesn't have the first place when it comes to talking about them.
It seems that Valve is trying to catch up, but his Steam Chat application lacks important features and quality that Discord offers. These include easier media integration, voice and video chat. As well as better group support.