Wave Goodbye to Houseparty

Wave Goodbye to Houseparty
Screenshot: Lucas Ropek/Houseparty

Houseparty, the video chat app that Epic Games bought and integrated with its Fortnite gameplay experience, will be shutting down soon, the company announced Thursday.

The platform, which was purchased by Epic in 2019, allows multiple people to interact via video call. Popularity for the platform skyrocketed when covid-19 forced global lockdowns, with some 17 million downloads during March 2020, the month the pandemic began in earnest. In April, the app’s team announced an integration with Fortnite, allowing players of the iconic battle royale game to chat while playing and also stream their sessions.

However, company now says that it’s time to put the party to bed, claiming that it can no longer “give the app or our community the attention that it deserves” because it’s saddled with other projects. As a result, Houseparty will be removed from app stores “immediately.” For those who already have the app downloaded, it will remain functional until it is officially retired in October. Similarly, the app’s functionality with Fortnite gameplay will remain intact until that period, too. In-app notifications will ultimately serve to alert users when service is no longer available.

While we must bid farewell to Houseparty, its parent company has promised to develop new cool stuff to replace the soon-to-be defunct product. “So what’s next? The team behind Houseparty is working on creating new ways to have meaningful and authentic social interactions at metaverse scale across the Epic Games family,” the company said.

Ah, yes, the metaverse — Silicon Valley’s new gimmick to stir up interest in virtual and augmented reality markets. For game developers like Epic, VR and AR are clearly common sense investments, given their potential to totally transform user gaming experience. On that front, Epic has apparently been aggressively prepping, raising $US1 ($1.5) billion last year to invest in such new meta-projects, the Washington Post reports.