Steam used to be the one-stop shop for all things PC gaming, and it still is in many respects. However, it's stranglehold over the market has slowly eroded over time due to the growing popularity and versatility of platforms like Origin, GoG, and Battle.net.
Discord saw its opportunity to join the ranks of those platforms earlier this year, launching its own in-app game storefront. It has a few unique aspects that make it stand out, such as exclusive games, improved curation, and a "Universal Library," but for the most part, it's pretty similar to other digital game shops.
Indeed, the inspiration Discord has taken from services like Steam has become even more clear today. The company announced in a blog post that it's allowing in-development games onto its store. These games will work much like Steam's Early Access titles or GoG's Games in Development.
You can buy the game (usually for a discounted price) while it's still being worked on by the developers. In theory, the main draw of a system like this is the ability to give feedback that can actually shape the future of the game; provided its creators take your opinions into account. It also affords impatient players the opportunity to sink their teeth into some of the most ambitious projects around without the need to wait for a full release.
Over the years, though, Early Access games have attracted some controversy. Many titles never get released due to mismanagement or a loss of vision -- I've supported many a failed project myself -- and even when they do, the finished product is sometimes wildly different than what the initial sales pitch described.
Regardless, Early Access games are not going anywhere anytime soon, so it makes sense for Discord to get in on the action. To that end, players will soon be able to dig into five in-development titles through Discord.
The list includes procedurally-generated downhill cycling game Descenders, low-poly dino park management sim Parkasaurus, "sandbox life sim RPG" Kynseed, psychological horror title Visage, and a fast-paced robot gladiator game called Mad Machines.