Discord is an American social network, VoIP, and instant messaging app launched on May 13th, 2015. With over 250 million users as of July 2019, it's among the fastest growing social networks in the world, tripling its user count in one year in 2018.
Discord allows users to create customized communities called "servers" to use for instant messaging and VoIP communication, in a similar way to Skype, Slack, and TeamSpeak. These servers, by default, are private and invite-only using invite links that can be shared with as many people as the user would like. Larger, Partnered, or Verified Servers can be featured in the Discovery page for easier access for users to join a server. Servers can be fully customized with text and voice channels, and sorted into categories, allowing them to be used for a wide variety of topics. Users can also be given different permissions with roles and individual channel permissions, allowing for staff hierarchy. With Nitro Boosting, more features for favored servers among users can allow for even more features, such as GIF Server Icons, Server Invite Backgrounds, increased emote space, and vanity invite URLs.
Relevance to the Super Smash Bros. series
The nature of Discord allowed it to quickly grow a staple Smasher userbase, with players creating servers dedicated to numerous parts of the game. Many of these are dedicated to singular characters, regions and tournament circuits. Compared to SmashBoards, Discord has the benefit of live chat discussion and voice chat, allowing for streamlined discussion. On the other hand, it loses the formalities that come with a forum, and is debatably more difficult to store resources in.
One platform that gave a significant rise to this is Smashcords, a website compiling relevant Smash-themed Discord servers. It also has a dedicated bot to further aid Smash-related communication known as "Floof Bot", which has since become a standard addition in many Smash-centric Discord servers. Most Smashcords have very large amounts of members, with the Joker Discord having over 14,000 members as of June 2020. Additionally, some Smashcords have gained partnerships with other platforms, such as the Byleth Discord being Discord-partnered and the Terry Discord being partnered with SNK.
Many top players such as MkLeo have their own Discord servers with relatively high popularity. This allows them to connect with their fanbase, such as through promoting streams on Twitch and giving more direct subscriber perks. This trend has spread to many other areas of the Smash Community, such as GimR running his own tech-centric Smash Discord.
Another popular Smash-centric server is the Smash Crew Server, more commonly referred to as the SCS, a large server compiling other crews to participate in Crew battles against each other. The European Smash Crew League is the European and Middle Eastern equivalent for those regions. As of November 2020, those crew-oriented leagues have over 12,000 and 1,000 members, respectively.