Epic Games, the maker of 'Fortnite', acquired teen chat app Houseparty in a surprise deal

houseparty video chat app 10

  • “Fortnite” creator Epic Games acquired group video-chat
    platform Houseparty on Wednesday.
  • “We kept hearing that people were using Houseparty to talk to
    their real life friends while gaming together and one game came up
    over and over again: Fortnite,” Houseparty CEO Sima Sistani
  • Visit Business
    Insider’s homepage for more stories.

“Fortnite” creator Epic Games announced its acquisition of
Houseparty, a social networking app for group video-chats, on

The price of the acquisition was not announced, but the
unexpected deal immediately sparked speculation about what the
maker of the most popular video game might do with the teen-focused
chat app.

Officials from Epic Games and Houseparty stressed the social
interaction aspects of each respective product. Fortnite has become
a worldwide gaming phenomenon, allowing up to 100 people anywhere
in the world to connect online and play in the same round. 

Still, company officials were mum on specific plans to integrate
the two products’ features. 

Houseparty has been installed by 35 million users via App Store
and Google Play, with 40 percent of those users outside of the US,
according to mobile data analyst Sensor Tower. Users spend an
average of one hour on the app everyday, Houseparty measures. 

The joint press release focused on the shared vision for Epic
Games and Houseparty to facilitate meaningful human connections
through virtual means. 

“Joining Epic is a great step forward in achieving our mission
of bringing empathy to online communication,” Houseparty CEO Sima
Sistani said in the press release. “We have a common vision to make
human interaction easier and more enjoyable, and always with
respect for user privacy.”

In a Tweet on the day of the announcement, Sistani predicted
that the next decade of social media will be characterized not by
sharing, but by participation.

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

“Houseparty brings people together, creating positive social
interactions in real time,” Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney said in the
press release.

Houseparty will not be collapsed into Epic Games. Users with
both Houseparty and Epic Games accounts will not be able to combine
their accounts, and Houseparty will remain available as a
standalone platform.

A spokesperson for Epic Games declined to comment on what an
integration of Houseparty and Epic Games may look like in the
future. However, a Tweet from Sistani highlights how users have
already used the platforms together:

We kept hearing that people were using
Houseparty to talk to their real life friends while gaming together
and one game came up over and over again: Fortnite.

— Sima Sistani (@SimaSistani)
June 12, 2019

While Fortnite does have an in-game voice chat function, many
players opt to use independent group chat programs to communicate
with fellow gamers. The group chat networks, like Houseparty and

, have the added benefit of existing outside of the game
as social media platforms; players can talk regardless of whether
they’re gaming, unlike in-game voice chats. Could Epic Games’
acquisition of Houseparty mean incorporation of Houseparty’s
social, video chat technology into video games like Fortnite? 

Houseparty is no stranger to online gaming internally.
Houseparty moved into the gaming space in January, when it began
offering games for users to play with friends in-app. Its first
game was Ellen DeGeneres’ mobile charades game Heads Up!.
The Verge
characterized this move as Houseparty’s “first effort
to generate revenue.” In April, Houseparty launched a trivia game,
and in May, it introduced word-association game, Chips and

The acquisition of Houseparty could yield a larger female
demographic of Fortnite players, according to the
The Wall Street Journal

Epic Games made nearly
$2.5 billion
through “Fortnite” in 2018, and in January it
acquired video graphic design firm
, which specializes in hyper-realistic human CGI. It
had amassed a total of
250 million
registered players by March.

creators of ‘Fortnite’ just bought the studio behind one of the
most popular games on the planet

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Epic Games, the maker of 'Fortnite', acquired teen chat app Houseparty in a surprise deal