Tech giant Microsoft is looking to buy gaming-focused chat service Discord for US$10 billion in order to bolster its position in the lucrative video game market.
Neither company has made public statements about ongoing discussions but anonymous sources told Bloomberg Microsoft was "in the running".
Discord's potential sale has been a story this week following a VentureBeat report saying it was in talks after gaining interest from multiple buyers and had potentially entered into final negotiations.
Discord is a free all-in-one platform for gaming and other online communities with voice chat, message boards, and screen-sharing 'streaming' functions.
It's relatively easy to use and lets people seamlessly check in and out of different invite-only servers from communities focusing on topics far beyond its original video game focus.
According to a Wall Street Journal report from earlier this month, Discord pulled in US$130 million last year (up from US$45 million in 2019).
Discord does not advertise to its users, instead relying on subscriptions to its premium 'Nitro' package that gives users more emojis, server support, larger uploads and higher video resolution for their streams. It has not yet been a profitable company.
Late last year, the company began raising US$140 million in a series H funding round after a US$7 billion valuation which followed its announcement that the number of daily Discord users had doubled to 140 million in 2020.
Discord is reportedly putting out feelers before deciding on its future, which may include going public.
Video game company Roblox went public this month with a direct listing that has seen the company secure a US$37 billion market capitalisation despite posting a net loss of over US$250 million last year.
If Microsoft does go after Discord, it would complement the company's existing video game portfolio that was recently expanded through its acquisition of publisher Zenimax Media which owns Bethesda Softworks, the studio behind the Elder Scrolls and Fallout series.
Any acquisition of Discord would also provide its new owner with a treasure-trove of data on its millions of users.
Microsoft is one of the few US tech giants to have made a permanent foothold in the video game industry – which was reportedly worth some US$200 billion last year – through Windows, the primary operating system for PC gamers, and its Xbox gaming consoles.
Google recently shut down its game development division following the dismal success of its cloud gaming service Stadia. Meanwhile, Amazon on Wednesday announced it was opening a new game studio after struggling to get a foothold in the market.
Both Amazon and Google have seen success in gaming-adjacent content through their respective video platforms Twitch and YouTube.