Houseparty is over: video chat app that boomed in lockdown meets its finish – The Guardian

Houseparty is over: video chat app that boomed in lockdown meets its finish – The Guardian

Apps

Epic Video games withdraws software program from app shops and can totally shut it down in October

Fri 10 Sep 2021 14.50 BST

Houseparty, a video chat app that surged in reputation when lockdowns had been first imposed final yr, is to shut down.

The platform permits folks to nearly drop in to video chatrooms with buddies and skilled a spike in demand throughout the first wave of Covid restrictions, reporting 50m sign-ups in a single month. Houseparty is owned by the identical firm that makes Fortnite and it was built-in into the smash-hit recreation final yr, permitting customers to carry video chats whereas enjoying.

The app’s chief govt had described Houseparty as “the following smartest thing to hanging out in actual life” and it grew to become much more well-liked when assembly buddies grew to become unattainable all through a lot of 2020.

Asserting the closure, Houseparty’s proprietor, Epic Video games, stated it might not “give the app or our group the eye that it deserves”.

“We don’t take the choice to discontinue the app evenly,” Epic Video games stated. “The workforce behind Houseparty is engaged on creating new methods to have significant and genuine social interactions at metaverse scale throughout the Epic Video games household.”

At its peak, Houseparty was hit by an unproven social media hearsay that claimed the app brought on customers’ different on-line accounts – together with Netflix, eBay, Instagram and Spotify – to be hacked. Epic then supplied a $1m (£720,000) reward to anybody who might show it was focused by a smear marketing campaign, though the bounty went unclaimed.

The agency has withdrawn the software program from all app shops instantly, earlier than closing totally in October to any remaining customers who nonetheless have it put in.

Epic acquired Houseparty for a reported $35m in 2019 however it’s now concentrating on the brand new buzzword in tech, the metaverse, or virtual reality shared space through which the true and digital worlds are blurred.

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