Mobile

What is Houseparty, the social video app with millions of new users?

Do you miss being able to attend parties and generally socialize? Houseparty may be the app for you. The app has recently been downloaded millions of times, is available for Android, iOS, iPadOS, and MacOS, and essentially allows you to video chat, play games, and more — all without actually leaving your house.

Houseparty isn’t actually new. It was first released in 2016 as a video chatting service that adds extra features like games and quizzes. Now, however, with millions of people stuck at home due to the coronavirus outbreak, it has quickly gained in popularity. In fact, last week alone, the app gained a massive 2 million downloads, according to App Annie. The app is owned by Fortnite developer Epic Games, who bought it in 2019.

There are plenty of things that you can do with the Houseparty app, and those things make it arguably more interesting than traditional video-chatting apps. When you open up the app, you’ll be able to see which of your friends are online and ready to chat — and your friends will be notified when you’re online too. It’s super easy-to-use, and that’s easily one of the best things about the service. When you log in to the app, you can easily enter a chat without having to initiate a call — unless your friends have chosen to “lock” their room.

The fun begins once you start actually chatting with friends. After the chat begins, you’ll be able to choose from a number of games to play. Games include Heads Up, Trivia, Quick Draw, and more — and they can be played with up to eight people at a time.

The app has other features too. You can send so-called “facemails,” which are video messages that will play when your friends open the app, and you can screen share too. And, thankfully it’s relatively easy to get friends on Houseparty since it pulls contacts from social media apps like Facebook and Snapchat to tell you which of your friends are already using the service and to allow you to invite others.

Due to the coronavirus outbreak, video chatting services in general have become increasingly popular over the past few weeks, both for professional use and for personal use. The most popular services include the likes of Zoom and FaceTime, however, Houseparty differentiates itself from the other services with its games and quizzes.

You can download Houseparty for Android, iOS, and MacOS.

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