How do I change my Discord username? Identity overhaul to affect 350 million users

·2-min read
Discord includes public and private servers that you can join to start chatting with other users (Discord)
Discord includes public and private servers that you can join to start chatting with other users (Discord)

Users of popular messaging platform Discord will need to change their usernames over the next few weeks, as the site overhauls the system for the first time in its eight-year history.

The service, which is especially popular among video game players, will scrap the four-digit “discriminator” format it currently uses, replacing it with usernames that begin with an ‘@’ symbol, much like Instagram and Twitter.

“The whole point of these changes is that we want to make it a lot easier for you and all the new users coming to Discord to connect and hang out with friends,” Discord co-founder Stanislav Vishnevskiy wrote in a blog post announcing the change.

He added that he recognised some users would not like the change, but that he and his team had put “a lot of thought into this”.

Discord has an estimated 350 million registered users, of which 140 million are regularly active.

Why do I have to change my Discord username?

Currently, new Discord users are assigned a four-digit number after their name to help distinguish them from other people on Discord with the same name. This is known as a discriminator.

Someone called Tommy could therefore be assigned the username Tommy#7000, signifying that they are the 7,000th person on Discord with that name.

One issue with this format identified by Vishnevskiy is that people with common names might find there are already 9,999 people with the same name on the platform, leaving them unable to use their name.

Another problem the company identified is that usernames are too complicated or obscure for users to remember and share easily.

Current usernames are also case-sensitive, meaning one person could have the name Tommy#7000 while a different person has TommY#7000.

In announcing the change, Discord revealed the staggering statistic that almost half of all friend requests on its platform fail to connect the user with the person they actually wanted to match with, due to the complicated usernames.

How will Discord change usernames?

In the future, all users will have a unique username beginning with an ‘@’ symbol. It can only include lowercase characters and numbers, with full stops and underscores also allowed.

Users will still be able to have a non-unique display name on their profile, which can include special characters and emojis, and can be changed at any time.

When and how do I change my Discord username?

The change will take place over the course of several months, so users will need to keep an eye out for an in-app prompt when it’s their turn to pick a new username.

Priority will be given to those who have been on Discord for longer.

Vishnevskiy admitted there may be “hiccups” with the process.

“We’ll be doing everything we can to manage things as smoothly as possible,” he said.