I’m no gamer. The most advanced thing I’ve ever played was Mario back in 90’s. And yet, here I am, comparing Discord, the most popular chat for gamers, with Slack, the biggest hype in the team communication history.
Luckily, some of my colleagues at work are a hell of gamers as well as heavy Discord users. They’ve helped me out by sharing expert opinion regarding Discord. As for Slack, I’ve become an expert myself after writing a good bunch of articles (Slack alternatives, Slack vs Flock, Slack vs Skype and many more) that you are welcome to check out.
Now, our traditional disclaimer – we are working on Chanty, an AI-powered team chat. Since there are so many team communication tools out there, we’ve started this ‘Slack vs’ marathon to actually use different chat software products within our team, analyze them thoroughly, learn about their pros and cons and finally build a better, cleaner and easier to use alternative. Sign up to join our amazing community of early adopters and share your feedback.
For those of you who are in a hurry, here’s a brief Slack vs Discord comparison table:
|Primary feature||Text communication||Voice communication|
|Message history limit||10 000 messages in Free plan||Unlimited|
|Integrations||Limit of 10 integrations in Free plan
800+ integrations in paid plans
|Integrations with games|
|Video conferencing||For no more than 2 persons in Free plan
For up to 15 persons in Paid plans
|Up to 8 persons in Free plan|
|Interface color options||8 options for a sidebar||Either light or dark theme|
|Storage limit||5GB in Free plan, 10GB-20GB in Paid plans||Unlimited|
|File upload limit||1GB||8MB in Free plan
50MB in Nitro plan
|Limit for channel members||You may receive a limitation system notification starting at 8,5K members||5,000 online concurrent users|
|Push to talk||No||Yes|
Slack vs Discord comparison
If you want more details and feedback, keep on reading.
In a nutshell, Discord and Slack are very much alike. Both are chat software with a similar interface where team communication is organized into channels. The biggest difference is their target audience and therefore, the focus on specific set of features. Here’s how the tools position themselves:
Discord – Free Voice and Text Chat for Gamers
Slack – Where Work Happens
Slack’s primary focus is on business sector while Discord is designed for gamers from head to toe. However, this doesn’t prevent gamers to hang out in Slack. It also doesn’t keep business teams from taking advantage of some features that are limited in Slack, but are free in Discord.
Discord has become a synonym for gaming community. In fact, they have a dedicated website with a list of servers (teams in Discord) where you can look for groups of people according to your interests. Although servers devoted to gaming dominate this list, you’ll still see all kinds of folks here. You’ll find a server for pretty much anything. Ariana Grande fans, Android enthusiasts, Homeless Girl Scouts and many more have been united under Discord’s roof turning it more into a social network rather than a team chat.
First things first, Discord is focused on voice chat features. The reason for it is that gamers need high quality, lag-free voice chat to communicate with other players along the game. Discord meets their requirements perfectly, providing a reliable voice communication feature with vast limits when it comes to a number of participants.
This is how Discord users see the difference between Discord and Slack:
I like to describe it (Discord) as a ‘real time Reddit’ because of the way that you join many specific servers (subreddits) and join ongoing conversations (posts). Slack is not like this a lot because it focuses on building a service that is curated for businesses and internal communications so in turn, Slack comes off more like a conference call or a corporate chat room.
– Noah Weidner, Discord user
If you asked me to name one major reason why people are looking for Slack alternatives, that would be the price. It usually becomes the biggest roadblock for those who’ve tried Slack. Well, I can see why it happens. Slack’s paid plans start at $6.67 user/month. There’s no other way to get rid of 10K searchable messages limit, 10 integrations limit and two people in a video chat limit unless you pay. If you want to get some extra features like 99.99% guaranteed uptime, guest access or 24/7 customer care, you’ll have to settle for a monthly based payment of $12.5 user/month.
Discord is free with almost no limits. Unlike Slack Free plan, you won’t be losing your team’s message history. However, if you appreciate Discord enough to support it with a monthly payment, there’s a Nitro plan which gives you some perks like extended size for a file upload (50MB rather than 8MB in free plan), use of a GIF avatar, higher quality screen sharing, animated emoji and a profile badge displaying how long you’ve supported Discord.
Discord has a user interface that is quite similar to Slack. Contacts are on your left while conversations are happening at the right side of the screen. However, I think Slack has done a better job at organizing its left panel – all the channels, direct conversations and apps are clearly visible. On the contrary, it takes some time getting used to Discord’s interface as its channels and direct messages are located under different menu tabs.
You can customize the color scheme of your interface in Discord whether you like it light or dark. In Slack, it’s only the sidebar with contacts that is customizable. You can choose one of the eight color options for the sidebar. If you are tech savvy though, you can customize the entire scheme with custom css, changing the css file of the desktop app or using custom css widgets in Slack. Overall, due to more in-depth customization, Slack is no longer a simple communication tool. In fact, it tends to get more and more cumbersome with each year.
E.g. it took me more than five minutes to find where do you actually customize your color scheme in Slack. At the same time, I instantly found that same setting in Discord. Although Discord is designed for gamers, it seems like a more simple alternative when it comes to user and account settings.
In case you are looking for a simple and easy-to-use communication tool, I strongly recommend you to give our AI-powered team chat a try. I’m not sure it’ll suit your gamer’s needs, but it’ll definitely benefit you in every way at work.
As I mentioned earlier, servers in Discord are teams in Slack. I’ve come across a feedback that it’s much more difficult to navigate between teams in Slack than servers in Discord. Well, it’s not exactly true.
On the one hand, once you’ve set up a Discord account, you are free to join and leave different servers. You don’t need to go through the entire onboarding process to join another team like you do in Slack. On the other hand, after going to the trouble of joining multiple teams in Slack, navigating between them is pretty much as easy as between servers in Discord.
Conversations in Slack are organized in public, private channels and direct messages. Discord divides channels into text and voice. However, channel settings are so advanced in Discord that you can assign roles and permissions to any member in the channel. Therefore, the concept of a private channel can be easily implemented in Discord.
I know the limit of people in the channel is a big deal for gamers. Although Slack doesn’t announce the official limit of people in a team, it still exists. Just a year ago, Slack team of 8,5K members reported getting the “You’ve reached the maximum number of users” message from the system. The limit was raised since then, but nobody went far enough to find it out. At the same time, Discord has officially announced their 5,000 online concurrent users limit in a channel.
One of the controversial topics in Slack is conversation threads. Some love them, others hate them. One way or another, it’s good to know Discord is missing this feature in case you are a big fan of threads. The good news though, it may be there soon so go vote for this functionality at Discord Dream Land.
Video calls in Slack are available between only two people unless you are on a paid plan. If you are, however, the participants limit extends to 15 people. Moreover, you are also free to share the screen during a video call. Slack, unlike Discord, doesn’t separate voice and video calls offering both features under a single button.
Voice calls are the heart of Discord. As I mentioned previously, there are dedicated voice channels where you don’t have to start a voice call – just get in and start speaking. Gamers find these features quite useful as they can play and talk with compadres at the same time.
Another great perk of voice calls in Discord is the number of participants. As I mentioned above, Discord claims to support channels with 5,000 online concurrent users at the same time. When it comes to video calls, however, you can chat with up to 9 friends. Sounds much better than a limit of two in Slack, doesn’t it?
Now to quality. I’ve tried video calls in both apps and the best word to describe video quality in Slack and Discord would be satisfactory. It’s not perfect (not on a retina screen for sure) yet, you can see your friends fine.
Video call settings are pretty basic in Slack and way more advanced in Discord where you gain control over things like echo cancellation or noise suppression.
Push to talk is another useful functionality in Discord video calls. Rather than staying audible throughout the entire game, you can choose to turn on your microphone every time you press a key combination of your choice. Again, this feature reflects the gamer’s needs and is, therefore, missing in Slack.
Notifications are the essential part of every chat tool. As you are probably not a big fan of being irritated every minute by an annoying popup, the ability to control notifications is crucial. At the same time, you don’t want to miss something important. Luckily, Slack offers an in-depth control over all kinds of notifications.
Apart from these settings, there is an entire page of Notification preferences in Slack. For instance, you can set up a keyword notification (once someone types in a specific keyword you’ll get notified) for a specific channel, set up do not disturb mode and many more options.
Notification settings in Discord are also impressive. You can even make a robot speak notifications for you! This is definitely useful when playing a game. However, there are no settings to notify you for direct messages and mentions like there are in Slack.
Slack is a clear winner when it comes to integrating third-party software. The 800+ apps you can connect to Slack is quite an impressive number. Since Slack targets teams at work, it integrates the tools companies use at work. Slack (just like our app, Chanty) allows you to receive notifications from the software you are using at work directly into your team communication tool.
Discord doesn’t connect your apps at work. Instead, you can integrate it with your favorite games thanks to Rich Presence feature. This way, you can show other players which game you are currently playing in your profile status and invite others to join in. Moreover, when looking for mates to play along, you can send party invites to join the game directly in Discord and play the game together.
Both Discord and Slack let users share files. There’s a limit of 8MB for the files you share in Discord. However, you can upgrade to the Nitro paid plan and extend this limit up to 50MB. The limit for a file upload in Slack is an impressive 1GB.
You can’t keep your files forever in Slack. The storage limit is 5GB per team member in a free plan and 10GB in a paid plan. Meanwhile, Discord claims to have an unlimited message and file history. This sounds inspiring, especially when you need to keep the constant access to all the files you’ve exchanged in Discord. But here’s the trick – with 8MB Discord lets you upload, you won’t really share files much. In other words, Discord limits the ‘endless’ storage space with a strict file upload limit. Many users complain about it, but hey, there’s always a Nitro plan upgrading your limits.
Apart from files, you can also share Google Drive files, posts, code or text snippets in Slack which is quite helpful at the workplace. At the same time, Discord lets you share files only from your computer and that’s about it. Well, gamers don’t exchange code pieces that often, do they?
Uploading a file both in Slack and Discord requires additional confirmation. This makes it difficult to upload a bunch of files at once. FYI, we’ve considered this issue in our team messenger and bulk load of files is a breeze via drag and drop file sharing in Chanty.
I’ll keep this short – if you need to search for files, go with Slack. Not only it lets you see all the files you’ve shared in a particular channel or the files that others have uploaded. You can also search within the document which is awesome in case you’ve forgotten the name of the document. Unfortunately, I haven’t found the file search feature in Discord which proves one more time – Slack is for business and Discord is for gamers.
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At the end of the day, Slack and Discord are both great tools. Each app is designed for its purpose and target audience.
Various communities, integrations with the most popular games and the focus on the voice communication feature shape Discord into a social network and online chat tool for gamers. At the same time, a whopping number of integrations, powerful search and the focus on text communication make Slack what it is now – a team communication tool for businesses.
The choice of the team chat tool depends on the goal of your team heavily. There are plenty of teams using Discord for business as well as Slack for gaming. Hopefully, this article has answered the questions you’ve had and helped you choose the right app for you.
If you are still hesitating which team messenger tool to choose, we strongly recommend you to try out Chanty – simple AI-powered team chat and a single notification center with a built-in task manager that is a breeze to use. We are well aware of the existing messengers’ pros and cons. We’ve considered them all while building a better chat for your team – Chanty. Sign up to join our amazing community of early adopters and give Chanty a try 😉