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One of the bigger stories of 2021 came when Sony announced it had invested in Discord and was working on full integration with the PlayStation Network. The news emerged shortly after Microsoft withdrew from a rumoured $10 billion buyout of the social network, making for a nice juxtaposition among those who follow the industry closely.

It’s been a good six months since PlayStation bigwig Jim Ryan proudly made that announcement, and we haven’t heard a peep about it since. It’s safe to assume that work has been ongoing behind-the-scenes, and this was always planned for a 2022 rollout regardless. While the mechanics of the brand’s integration are still underwraps, I think it could change the way we play together.

Discord is not a complicated concept, really: it’s a collection of curated chat rooms for communities to gather around specific topics. Some games, franchises, and developers have their own channels, and it’s easy to see how these could be integrated into the existing PlayStation experience. Stuck in Returnal, for instance? Jump into Housemarque’s community and ask a fellow fan.

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While it’s a simple idea, the depth of Discord’s popularity will make it a game-changer. I was always taken aback by the popularity and longevity of the Push Square Community on the PS4, which has since been removed from the console – presumably to make way for Discord’s addition. But in terms of features, Sony’s internal effort was rudimentary compared to what I imagine Discord will offer.

If this is integrated in the way I expect it to be – and I imagine it will be embedded deeply into the PS5 and PS4 operating system – then it’s going to make finding likeminded players so much easier. Whether you’re looking for someone to boost Trophies with or a friend to play Fortnite Duos alongside, Discord is going to make discovery and communication so much more powerful.

I’ve been thinking about all the ways we’ll be able to build the Push Square community on the console itself. I think having a really strong server for our members here is going to make it viable for you to not only play with each other, but also staff as well. As things exist, there’s a disconnect between this website and your console, but I think Discord is going to allow us to bridge that in new and unique ways.

Now obviously the proof will be in the pudding, and it’s going to depend a lot on how well Sony is able to blend its own PSN experience with, what is effectively, a third-party social network. But the Japanese giant now owns a minority stake in the business, and thus has a vested interest in its success. Keep an eye on this, because it could change the way we play together in 2022.

How do you think Discord will be incorporated into the existing PS5 and PS4 experience, and are you excited by the possibilities of its integration? Find a friend in the comments section below.