Discord said that a limited test run is necessary because the bandwidth required for video data is “a behemoth” compared to what’s required for voice-only. And of course there will also likely be some bugs and other issues that are best ironed out before it goes out to the public.
The good news is that people selected for the test will be able to initiate video calls with anybody, including friends who aren’t in the test. The bad news, potentially at least, is that it may be a rough ride at first: Discord warned that video calling may have to be turned off at some point during the test so that problems can be addressed.
Video chats and screen shares are currently only available in one-on-one calls and group DMs, and so are limited to a maximum of ten people at a time—and Discord warned that call quality could suffer with more than five people. Once the calls are initiated, video or screen share buttons will enable you to share either your webcam or your desktop with everyone connected. Full-screen and picture-in-picture are supported, and the PIP window can be docked anywhere in the app that you like.
“We’re still at least a month out from considering a full launch. Why? We’re measuring and testing bandwidth; acquiring and implementing more backend servers; and praying our code actually works. This takes time. It could also be longer than a month,” the announcement says. “What we do know is that it’s good enough to start testing and this is the most soon soon that we’ve ever sooned.”