Discord and Twitch are two of the most popular communication platforms among gamers and streamers. But what exactly are the differences, and which is better for building your community?
In this comprehensive guide, we’ll compare Discord and Twitch side-by-side, looking at features, use cases, interfaces, streaming quality, privacy, chat options, friend discovery, voice/video support, moderation tools, and more.
Whether you’re a gamer looking to connect with others or a streamer deciding where to build your audience, read on to find out if Discord or Twitch (or maybe both) is right for you.
- Twitch focuses on live streaming while Discord focuses more on persistent messaging/chat.
- Twitch has better video quality and streaming features overall. Discord’s video chat supports up to 50 people.
- Discord allows fully private channels and messages. Twitch streams are always public.
- Discord has robust chat features like persistent voice/text channels and direct messaging. Twitch recently removed group voice chat.
- Twitch is better for discoverability and reaching a wide gaming audience. Discord is better for engaging with an existing community.
- Both platforms have free options, with paid subscriptions for additional features.
What is Twitch?
Twitch is a live streaming platform owned by Amazon that caters primarily to gamers. The site launched in 2011 and now sees over 30 million daily active users.
On Twitch, anyone can live stream themselves playing video games while interacting with viewers via a real-time chat. Popular streamers often have thousands of concurrent viewers. Beyond gaming, Twitch also supports streams focused on music, sports, cooking, chatting, and “in real life” content.
As a streamer on Twitch, you can monetize your channel through paid subscriptions, viewer donations, ad revenue sharing, and more. Viewers can support their favorite streamers through paid monthly subscriptions that unlock additional perks.
The interactive nature of Twitch makes it popular for building gaming communities. However, Twitch lacks robust messaging and chat features outside of stream chat itself.
What is Discord?
Discord is a free voice, video, and chat app designed for creating and engaging with communities. The platform launched in 2015 and now reports 150 million monthly active users.
Discord allows users to create servers for topics and interest groups. These servers have multiple persistent chat channels with options for text, voice, and video communication. Users can create or join existing public and private servers based on their interests and chat with fellow server members seamlessly.
In addition to servers and group chats, Discord offers direct messaging between friends. The combination of group chat rooms and private messaging makes it effective both for building communities and personal communication.
Discord provides screen sharing in voice channels for up to 50 people. So while primarily chat-focused, it does facilitate some streaming and collaboration.
Discord vs Twitch: Key Feature Differences
|Primary purpose||Chat and communities||Live streaming|
|Streaming quality||Up to 1080p/60fps for Nitro subscribers, 720p/30fps otherwise. 50 person limit.||Up to 1080p/60fps for all. Unlimited viewers.|
|Video calling||Group video chats supported||No built-in video calling|
|Voice calling||Group voice chats supported||Recently removed group voice chat|
|Chat features||Persistent servers, channels, DMs||Live stream chat only|
|Private messages||Fully private channels and DMs||No private streaming option|
|Audience building||Better for engaging existing communities||Better for discovering new viewers|
|Monetization||Limited options currently||More options like subscriptions|
Streaming and Video Quality
One major difference between Twitch and Discord is their live streaming capabilities and quality.
Twitch is built from the ground up to support high quality, low latency game streaming to unlimited viewers. All Twitch streams can be viewed in up to 1080p resolution at 60fps. There are also options for source (uncompressed) quality.
Discord offers screen sharing and streaming features, but with some limitations. First, video quality is capped at either 720p/30fps or 1080p/60fps depending on whether you have a paid Nitro subscription. Resolution is scaled down after 25 viewers.
Additionally, Discord streams can only support up to 50 concurrent viewers looking at one streamer’s screen share. For larger audiences, it does allow streaming video to up to 1000 viewers by integrating a third-party streaming tool like OBS.
For straightforward game streaming, Twitch delivers a better experience. But Discord can facilitate more intimate streams and video chats for smaller groups.
Chat and Communication
Discord provides far more robust chat and communication features outside of streaming itself.
The core of Discord is persistent chat servers and channels for topic-based communities to hang out in. Users can chat simultaneously via text, voice, and video in each channel. Friends can also private message each other separately.
Twitch focuses primarily on live stream chats. It does not offer group voice chats or many chat options outside of public chat rooms during streams themselves. However, you can private message other users from stream chats.
If you want to interact with your community when you’re not streaming, Discord is better optimized for off-stream communication.
An important distinction between Twitch and Discord is the ability to make private, unlisted, and encrypted channels.
Discord has extensive options for controlling server and channel privacy. You can make servers fully private and invisible or only visible to certain users. Channels within a server can also be made private to restrict access. Discord even offers encrypted secret channels.
Twitch does not have true private streaming. All streams are public and can be discovered by anyone on Twitch. Your best option is streaming on an alternate account unconnected to your main channel.
For privacy-focused conversations, Discord is the safer choice. But for public entertainment streaming, Twitch fits that purpose better.
Discord vs Twitch: Interface and Experience
The interfaces of Discord and Twitch also differ quite a bit based on their primary use cases. Let’s compare the user experience on both platforms:
Discord uses a slick, dark theme by default with colorful accents. It feels modern and visually clean.
The platform makes extensive use of bots for moderation, music, games, and more. Bots appear with special branding to stand out.
Servers are arranged on the left panel. You click a server to view its channel list on the right. The channel list displays every member currently in voice and text channels.
Persistent chat history, member lists, and media galleries make Discord valuable as a home for thriving communities.
Twitch uses a bright white layout that stays out of the way during streams. Dark mode can be enabled for lower contrast.
When viewing a stream, the video player dominates the screen. Chat appears as a sidebar on the right. Other recommended streams and channels are on the left.
Navigation menus fade into the background during streams, directing all focus to the video viewer and chat. Everything is designed for live streaming.
Stream chats feel temporary and ephemeral compared to Discord’s persistent, threaded conversations in channels.
Both platforms create polished, purpose-driven experiences for their respective goals.
Discord vs Twitch for Streamers
Both Discord and Twitch can be valuable platforms for gaming streamers and content creators. Here are some factors to weigh when deciding where to focus your efforts:
If your goal is to reach the widest audience possible and turn casual viewers into regular fans, Twitch has some advantages.
Twitch has built-in communities for popular games and genres. Readers can easily browse tons of active public streams at any time, allowing you to be discovered by new people.
Pro features like banners, stream tags, game-specific categories, and visibility tools are geared towards helping new channels stand out to potential viewers.
Discord can still be very useful for streamers by giving your community a centralized hub outside of Twitch. But it’s better for engaging an existing audience you’ve built elsewhere rather than attracting new viewers from scratch.
Discord lets you carve out a more unique streaming niche if you want to build something outside the mainstream categories on Twitch.
For instance, you could make a private 18+ comedy streaming server and market it to your specific target demographic rather than playing within Twitch’s public rules.
Twitch still dominates if you simply want to join the broader ecosystem of public gameplay streaming and viral entertainment. But Discord offers more ways to customize smaller niche experiences.
Twitch currently provides far more monetization options for individual streamers like ad revenue sharing, subscription tiers, virtual tips, and partnerships.
Discord’s monetization features are still limited in availability. Paid server subscriptions are only available to select approved partners right now. So for direct income, Twitch has a strong advantage.
However, you could potentially use Discord channels to promote affiliate products or paid services outside of Discord itself. The chat features help build engaged communities to market to.
No matter where you stream, having a Discord can help convert viewers into dedicated followers who will support you across multiple platforms.
Discord vs Twitch for Viewers
As a viewer, here are some factors that may help decide whether Twitch or Discord (or both) are worth using:
Twitch is better if you want to easily browse tons of gaming content and discover new streamers playing your favorite games. The categories, tags, and recommendations make finding streams for specific games or genres you like very straightforward.
Discord has some discovery features like public server directories, but most servers won’t show up unless you’re explicitly invited by a link. So it’s better for finding communities related to your existing interests rather than stumbling upon new ones.
Discord can provide a “home base” to engage with streamers and communities outside of streams. You can chat with them, participate in events, ask questions, and get to know other fans in a persistent space rather than an ephemeral live stream chat.
Twitch itself has very limited community features beyond the stream chat. Popular streamers often have official Discord servers linked in their Twitch profiles for followers to join.
Discord makes it easy to have private conversations about streamers or topics you enjoy with close friends. Twitch messaging is primarily public live chat that appears on stream. Discord offers fully private channels if you want secrecy.
On Twitch, anyone can read or participate in your chat. Discord gives you more control over privacy. But Twitch chats can often be more fun because of the shared public aspect.
Discord vs Twitch Pricing
Both Discord and Twitch offer robust free plans along with paid subscriptions for power users.
Twitch is 100% free to use for both viewers and streamers. Viewers may pay $4.99/month for Twitch Turbo to disable ads and unlock color chat badges.
For streamers, Twitch offers Channel Subscriptions starting at $4.99/month for supporters to unlock perks like custom emotes. Higher subscription tiers are available for larger channels.
Twitch also provides options to monetize through ad revenue sharing, selling games via their affiliate program, and more. Their Twitch Partnership program unlocks additional money-making opportunities.
Discord is also free to use with some paid subscription options:
- Nitro Classic ($4.99/month) – Custom emoji slots, larger file uploads, custom profile badges
- Nitro ($9.99/month) – Classic perks plus 4K streaming, global emoji slots, custom profile banner, and server boosts
- Server Boosts ($4.99/month) – Boost features for specific servers like more emoji slots and higher audio quality
Paid server subscriptions and partner monetization programs are also coming soon to Discord for community creators to generate revenue.
Discord vs Twitch: Which Should You Choose?
So which platform is better for you? Here’s a quick recap comparing Discord vs Twitch:
- For public game streaming to a wide audience, Twitch is ideal.
- For private streams and video chats under 50 viewers, Discord fits the bill.
- To engage and chat with a community off-stream, choose Discord.
- For ephemeral public chats during streams, use Twitch.
- If monetizing your stream is the priority, focus on Twitch first.
- To complement an existing Twitch channel, add an official Discord server.
In many cases, using both platforms together gives you the best of both worlds!
Twitch powers the live entertainment and interaction. Discord provides the always-on community where your fans can chat before, after, and between streams.
Frequently Asked Questions About Discord and Twitch
Can you make money on Discord?
Right now, there are limited options for monetizing Discord content itself as an individual creator. However, you can potentially generate revenue by promoting affiliate products or paid services to your Discord community. Server boosting subscriptions also provide some revenue.
Paid channel subscriptions are coming soon to Discord for approved creators and communities. When that rolls out more broadly, Discord will offer direct monetization similar to Twitch subscriptions.
Does Twitch own Discord?
Twitch and Discord are completely separate platforms. Twitch is owned by Amazon while Discord is an independent private company.
They were both founded around the same time in the early 2010s but have different purposes. Twitch focuses on game streaming while Discord focuses on chat for communities.
In the future, it’s possible Amazon could attempt to acquire Discord to expand their gaming ecosystem. But for now, the two services are distinct competitors.
Can you merge Twitch and Discord accounts?
There is no direct way to merge Twitch and Discord accounts into one unified account. However, you can link and connect your accounts in different ways:
- List your Discord server invite link on your Twitch profile so fans can join.
- Connect your Twitch subscriber list to give them special access on your Discord.
- Stream Twitch Chat on Discord using Chat Link.
- Use bots like OhBot to synchronize chats between platforms.
Connecting your accounts helps transition viewers between the two platforms. But accounts cannot merge into one login across the services.
Is Discord safe for kids?
Discord allows users 13+ but cautions that it permits unrestricted communication with strangers and user-generated content. So mature themes may be present on some public servers.
Parents may want to restrict access, monitor use closely, or set up a strictly moderated private server if concerned about exposure to unsafe content or people. Safer alternatives tailored for children are also available.
Can you get banned on Discord for no reason?
Discord rarely bans accounts with no justification. Common reasons for Discord bans include abuse, harassment, illegal content, spamming, or TOS violations.
False positives are possible but unlikely. If you were banned from Discord unfairly, contact their support team to appeal the ban with an explanation.
I think my Discord was hacked. What should I do?
If your Discord account appears to be hacked, compromised, or taken over by someone else, you should follow Discord’s guide on what to do if your account is hacked like enabling two-factor authentication. You can also contact their support team for help regaining access to your account.
Why does Twitch keep lagging and buffering?
There are a few common reasons for Twitch lag and buffering issues like poor internet connectivity, high video resolution setting, server outages, or browser problems. Check out this Twitch lagging guide for steps you can try to troubleshoot and fix streaming delays.
Get Connected with Discord and Twitch!
We’ve only scratched the surface of Discord vs Twitch. Both platforms offer awesome ways to engage with the gaming community.
Now you know exactly how Twitch and Discord compare for streamers and gamers across video quality, chat, privacy, streaming tools, monetization, and more.
Choosing the right platform for your goals and audience helps maximize your success online. Whether it’s public entertainment or private conversations, there’s a place for everyone.
Now it’s time to start joining servers, building communities, firing up streams, and connecting with fellow gamers worldwide. See you on Twitch and Discord!