Voice and video calling apps have become essential for communication in our digital lives. As working from home becomes more common, we rely on tools like Discord and Skype to stay connected with colleagues, friends and family.
But when it comes to choosing the best app for your needs, Discord and Skype have some key differences. This comprehensive guide examines the features, strengths and limitations of each platform to help you decide which is better for your situation.
Overview of Discord and Skype
Discord is a free voice, video and text chat app that’s hugely popular in the gaming community. Servers provide spaces for groups and communities to interact via chat channels focused on specific topics.
In addition to text chats, Discord allows users to communicate by voice in chat rooms, as well as make direct voice and video calls. Screen sharing is another useful feature for collaboration.
Skype, owned by Microsoft, is one of the longest running and most well-known video calling apps. It offers features like instant messaging, voice and video calls, screen sharing and file sharing.
While predominantly focused on consumer use cases, Skype also provides options tailored towards business needs like scheduling meetings and integrating with Office apps.
This comprehensive guide examines the features, strengths, and limitations of each platform to help you decide which is better for your situation. For a more detailed comparison of Discord with other platforms, see Discord vs Telegram.
Key Differences Between Discord and Skype
Here’s a quick look at some of the main ways Discord and Skype differ:
- Purpose – Discord is focused on gaming communities while Skype caters more towards personal and business use.
- Servers vs Contacts – Discord is built around servers while Skype connects contacts.
- Voice Channels – Discord features persistent voice channels vs Skype’s one-on-one calls.
- Business Features – Skype has more built-in features for business use like appointments, calendars and CRM integration.
- Video Quality – Skype offers HD video while Discord tops out at 1080p/source quality.
- Customization – Discord provides more customization options for users.
- File Sharing – Skype allows larger file uploads up to 300MB vs Discord’s 8-50MB limits.
Let’s take a deeper look at how these differences impact the user experience when evaluating Discord vs Skype.
Discord vs Skype for Different Use Cases
Discord is the clear winner when it comes to gaming. The platform is designed specifically with gamers in mind, providing tools to bring together communities around specific games and topics.
Some key advantages Discord has for gamers:
- Persistent voice channels – Discord’s always-on voice channels are perfect for hanging out and talking with fellow gamers.
- Robust communities – Active gaming communities exist on Discord with channels focused on discussion, playtips, finding teammates and more.
- Overlay support – Discord’s in-game overlay allows gamers to easily see notifications and coordinate with teammates.
- Cross-platform – Discord is available across mobile, desktop and web with full feature parity.
- Streaming integration – Stream your gameplay directly to Discord and engage with viewers in real-time.
In contrast, Skype is not designed for gaming or building communities. While you can theoretically use it for voice chat while playing, Discord is far superior in the gaming context.
Streaming integration – Stream your gameplay directly to Discord and engage with viewers in real-time. For more insights on streaming, check out Discord vs Twitch.
For Personal Use
For personal voice and video calls with family and friends, both Skype and Discord can fit the bill.
Skype’s advantage for consumer use cases lies in its simplicity and name recognition. With just an email or phone number, your contacts can ping you on Skype without needing to join servers or add usernames. Video quality is also reliable.
However, Discord’s voice channels provide a more casual way for groups of friends or family members to hang out remotely. The ability to pop in and out of voice channels makes it easy to connect without the formality of a direct call.
Overall, Skype gets a slight edge for one-on-one calls with its interface familiarity, while Discord excels at group connections.
However, is Discord used for dating? Explore more about it here.
For Business Use
Skype pulls ahead of Discord when it comes to business needs for a few key reasons:
- Integration with Office apps – Schedule Skype calls directly from Outlook calendar. Share Office documents and collaborative editing during calls.
- CRM integration – Skype integrates directly with business platforms like Salesforce for easy access during calls.
- Higher video quality – Skype offers full HD video quality for professional meetings and presentations.
- Call recording – Skype enables recording of both video and audio calls.
- Scheduling – Skype makes it easy to schedule meetings and send calendar invitations.
- Mobile messaging – Skype’s business plans include SMS messaging.
- Account management – Skype for Business offers centralized admin controls for multiple users.
Discord does allow screen sharing and has some capability for business use with its Go Live streaming feature. However, Skype has significantly more features that cater directly to business needs.
The only exception would be for niche professional communities that center around Discord. In those cases, the platform’s chat servers may provide more targeted tools.
Let’s take a deeper look at how these differences impact the user experience when evaluating Discord vs Skype, and how it compares to other platforms like WhatsApp.
Comparing Key Features
Now let’s take a detailed feature-by-feature look at how Discord and Skype stack up in important categories.
Group Size Limits
Both apps allow fairly large groups for voice and video calls, with Discord coming out on top.
- Voice channels – Up to 250 users
- Video calls – Up to 50 users
- Group video calls – Up to 100 participants
- Group voice calls – Up to 25 participants
For personal use, these generous limits accommodate everything from game night with friends to large family gatherings. For business, Discord can potentially host an all-hands meeting with a few hundred employees.
Video and Audio Quality
Skype generally provides better video call quality while Discord offers more flexibility.
- HD video up to 1920 x 1080 pixels
- Consistently clear audio
- Variable video up to source quality
- Audio quality depends on connection; usually good
Discord allows servers to boost audio quality for an improved experience. For video, performance is largely dependent on each user’s hardware and internet capabilities.
Skype’s video smooths out some of that variability, making it preferable for situations like presentations or events where high quality is a must. For casual calls, Discord is on par.
Both apps support screen sharing during calls, with Discord offering more customization options.
The ability to broadcast your screen is essential for activities like collaboration, tech support, presentations and gaming.
- Share entire screen, specific app window, or portion of screen
- Hides personal information when gaming
- Share full screen
- Provides simple annotation tools
Discord’s fragmented screen sharing gives users more control over what they display. Skype is better suited for quickly sharing your full desktop.
Customization and Themes
One major advantage Discord has over Skype is customization, with far more options to personalize your experience.
- Change server and user profile themes
- Animated avatars and server icons
- Custom user statuses
- Organize channels and roles
- Bot integration
- Limited profile theming
- Basic status messages
- No other customization options
Discord encourages community-building with profile personalization. Skype maintains its familiar interface with minimal tweaks available.
Both apps allow file transfers, with Skype accommodating much larger attachments.
- File sharing up to 300MB
- Larger files via OneDrive integration
- File size limited to 8MB for free users
- Up to 100MB for Nitro subscribers
Discord’s file limits are quite restrictive and make it challenging to share large images, videos or documents. Skype easily supports most typical attachments.
Discord and Skype are both available on iOS and Android mobile devices. The core features translate smoothly cross-platform.
Discord arguably provides a bit more flexibility for mobile users thanks to its voice channel model. You can move seamlessly between text and voice chat without initiating a new call.
Skype does allow video calling over mobile data, however, which can be useful when Wi-Fi is unavailable. Overall the mobile experience is robust on both platforms.
Chat Features and Capabilities
Beyond voice and video, both Discord and Skype offer text chat capabilities. Discord has more options tailored towards community interaction.
- Organized chat channels
- Persistent chat history
- Webhooks for bots and alerts
- Embed media and links
- Code snippet formatting
- Slash commands
- Basic individual & group chats
- Share messages, files, photos
- Add emojis and stickers
- Format text bold/italics
Discord provides more tools for engaging community members, integrating third-party apps and customizing chats. For simple communication Skype fills the need.
Both Discord and Skype implement standard security measures like encryption to protect chats and calls. Each platform has faced some criticism for privacy concerns in the past.
For the most privacy:
- Discord – Use a VPN and turn off data collection settings
- Skype – Disable call recording feature and limit shared info
Overall, exercise caution when sharing sensitive personal information on any internet-based communication platform.
In addition to text chats, Discord allows users to communicate by voice in chat rooms, as well as make direct voice and video calls. It’s also possible to recover a deleted Discord account, providing peace of mind to users.
Pricing and Plans
Discord’s core features are totally free for all users. Skype offers free personal use with paid plans unlocking more features.
- Free – Full access to servers, messaging, voice chat
- Nitro – $9.99/month premium subscription with extra perks like higher quality screen sharing, larger file uploads and custom emoji
- Free – Messaging, voice and video calls with individuals and groups
- Subscription – starting at $2.99/month for extras like group video calling, call recording and SMS messaging
For most personal needs, the free tiers of both apps will suffice. Paid plans provide quality of life improvements but are not essential.
The Verdict: Which Is Better for You?
When considering Discord vs Skype, think about your use case and which platform’s strengths match your needs.
🎮 For connecting with gaming communities, Discord is far superior. The platform is purpose-built with gamers in mind.
👨👩👧👦 For casual group hangouts with friends or family members, Discord’s persistent chat rooms make it our top pick.
👔 For business meetings and presentations requiring high video fidelity and integration with work apps, Skype is preferable.
📞 For straightforward one-on-one calls, either tool can provide solid voice and video capabilities. Skype carries more brand familiarity while Discord fosters more informal community interaction.
At the end of the day, the right choice depends on your priorities. Evaluating the key differences in features, functionality and use cases explored in this guide will clarify which solution best fits your needs and preferences.
- Discord centers around servers and persistent chat while Skype uses contacts and direct calling model.
- Discord dominates for gaming purposes while Skype excels in business contexts.
- Skype generally delivers higher quality video calls while Discord provides more customization.
- Discord is superior for group voice chat rooms while Skype is better optimized for scheduled video meetings.
- Consider your usage, whether gaming, personal or business focused when deciding between the two.
Frequently Asked Questions
Does Discord have video calling?
Yes, Discord supports video calling in both one-on-one and group calls. The maximum number of users in a Discord video call is 50.
Can you call phone numbers with Skype?
Yes, with Skype you can call phone numbers like landlines and mobiles. This requires purchasing Skype Credit or getting a subscription. Calling other Skype users is free.
Is Discord actually safe for kids?
Discord provides tools like privacy settings and content filtering but ultimately parents should supervise children using it. Discord is generally safe with some oversight.
What’s better about Skype Premium?
Skype Premium provides features like group HD video calling, call recording, SMS messaging and voicemail. For most personal use the free Skype plan is sufficient.
Can businesses use Discord?
Discord does offer certain features like screen sharing that can facilitate business collaboration. However, Skype tends to be more suitable with purpose-built tools for enterprise.
Does Skype have an advantage as a Microsoft product?
Since Microsoft owns Skype, it provides deep integrations with Microsoft 365, Teams, Outlook and other office apps. This can provide a more seamless experience.
Is Discord actually free?
Yes, Discord’s core features are completely free including messaging, voice chat and streaming. The Nitro subscription provides some additional perks but is not necessary to use Discord.
How many users can be in a Skype call?
A Skype group video call can support up to 100 participants while group voice calls are limited to 25 participants maximum.
Can you use Discord on multiple devices?
Yes, Discord has mobile and desktop apps that sync seamlessly. You can stay connected on multiple devices and transition calls between them.
Is Skype still popular?
While other apps like FaceTime and WhatsApp have gained popularity, Skype still maintains a large user base, especially among international users and businesses. It’s a widely recognized industry leader.
Determining whether Discord or Skype is better ultimately comes down to aligning their capabilities with your individual use case.
Gamers will find Discord the superior choice with its purpose-built features while Skype excels at delivering a polished business user experience. Both can facilitate group voice chat and video calls reasonably well.
The right choice depends on the mix of factors that matter most to you like video quality, file sharing limits, customization options, mobile performance and specific tools for gaming or work. Identify your priorities and weigh them against the detailed comparison points in this guide.
Hopefully the insights provided give you clarity on choosing Discord vs Skype as your communication platform of choice moving forward!