MMO Business Roundup: Discord’s funding, Bungie’s lawsuit, and harassment in online gaming


Welcome back to another roundup of MMO and MMO-adjacent business news.

Discord: Investors love dumping money into Discord, and they’re continuing the trend, as the chat company gamers know best raised another $500M in its latest funding round. That apparently puts the company at a value of $15B, significantly more than the reported $10B Microsoft wanted to pay during negotiations earlier this year.

Bungie: Remember years ago when former Destiny composer Martin O’Donnell sued Bungie over Bungie’s attempt to illegally strip O’Donnell of his shares in the company and deny him his rights as a shareholder when firing him from the studio? O’Donnell won, and then resurfaced in our news years later with plenty to say about the relationship between Bungie and Activision-Blizzard. Now he’s back in the headlines thanks to a contempt of court ruling; apparently, the terms of the original lawsuit forbade him from sharing and performing music and materials relating to the game, but in 2019, O’Donnell did just that, leading to the finding – and an order that he pay Bungie “reasonable costs” for the suit. Bungie’s demanded $100,000. We’ll see how that goes.

Harassment: The annual harassment in gaming report from the Anti-Defamation League and Newzoo was published this week, and it appears to show yet another spike in harassment reports against women and BIPOC, particularly Black and Asian gamers. “For the third consecutive year, ADL’s survey found that harassment experienced by adult gamers increased and remains at alarmingly high levels, while the new research on the experience of teens also raises significant concerns,” the ADL writes. (via GIbiz)


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From the video: “…for the first half of 2021, 83% of adults 18-45 were harassed playing online multiplayer games.”

Honestly speaking, how do you counter that? How do you encourage people to stop being jerks in game? Game design can do some things, but good deterrents are generally built in from the start. Punishing behavior only goes so far, and I’ve found that game companies would rather slap a player’s hand than kick them (and their revenue) off the game.

Then there’s the matter of reporting bad behavior. I’ve seen very mixed results, depending upon the company and the moderator handling the situation. Games are usually quick and decisive about cheaters, and most will hand out at least temporary bans for obvious hate speech, but things like aggressive stalking can be all but ignored.


So how does Discord generate any income?


you can upgrade your account to a premium tier called Nitro for $


“onling gaming”

what is this “onling” you speak of.

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Chris Neal

Fixed! lol Good looking out. :D

Kickstarter Donor

RE: Bungie – I can’t find it now, but there was a thread in the Destiny reddit about this and how Marty was apparently trying to push dishonest nonsense there and on the Halo reddit. Destiny mods (good peeps) took his posts down for violating the rules and apparently Marty responded by sicking his Twitter followers on them…he kinda sounds like a bitter, egocentric jerk : /


Really sad seeing Bungie getting sued like that, but I’m glad it’s being reported on because I do feel like when devs misbehave, we ought to hear about it.