The Brief: The makers of Fortnite have acquired the social media app Houseparty, leading to speculation about how the two platforms may be blended together.
On Wednesday, the social networking service Houseparty announced that they would be joining Epic games, the makers of the video game Fortnite. Houseparty is a social media, messaging, and video chat app that allows users to connect with groups of friends via simultaneous video and voice chat. Fortnite, Epic Games’ most well-known development, is a popular battle royale video game with a reported 250 million players worldwide.
If the last decade of social media was about sharing, the next decade will be about participating. Today we’re announcing that @houseparty is joining @epicgames and I couldn’t be more excited!! https://t.co/yxAquantmD
— sima sistani (@SimaSistani) June 12, 2019
According to Houseparty’s official announcement, “by teaming up with Epic, creator of Fortnite and Unreal Engine, we’ll be able to help even more people connect with their friends, family, and peers.”
For now, the acquisition of Houseparty by Epic Games will not bring any changers for users. The apps remain separate as do user accounts and profiles. Looking forward, this takeover has the potential to integrate elements of gaming and social media and to create more fluid social entertainment experiences.
Sima Sistani, the co-founder, and CEO of Houseparty remarked that “Joining Epic is a great step forward in achieving our mission of bringing empathy to online communication,” and that “We have a common vision to make human interaction easier and more enjoyable, and always with respect for user privacy.”
The Wall Street Journal suggested that this deal “gives Fortnite a way to appeal to more girls,” pointing to the opportunity for sometimes disparate Houseparty and Fortnite audiences to overlap and expand in the future.
Sistani also tweeted that many Fortnite players had already been using the app to connect with their friends while gaming together online. Although Fortnite includes a built-in voice chat feature, many users turn to outside platforms like Discord or Houseparty for more control over their conversations and chat settings. The popularity of Twitch and other gaming-related streaming platforms highlight how for many, gaming is about interacting with others in addition to simply playing the game by oneself.
The acquisition of Houseparty by Epic Games has the potential to pave the way for the future of participatory, interactive, and engaging entertainment and communication platforms.