Fortnite video chat app Houseparty to close in October

Houseparty app. Credit: PA

Houseparty, a video chat app that rose to prominence when Covid lockdowns were first imposed last year, is to close down in October, it has been announced.

The platform, which let people "drop in" to video chat rooms hosted by friends, gained popularity as coronavirus curbs restricting in-person contact were first being introduced.

In November 2020, it was integrated with Fortnite, the smash-hit survival game, to allow players to see each other during multiplayer gaming sessions.

A player's view of the game Fortnite. Credit: Epic Games

But right at its peak, rumours began circulating that Houseparty caused users’ other online accounts – including Netflix, eBay, Instagram and Spotify – to be hacked.

Owners Epic Games, which makes Fortnite, subsequently launched a $1m dollar bounty to anyone who could prove it was targeted by a smear campaign.

The firm has decided to withdraw the software from all app stores immediately, before closing fully in October to any remaining users who still have it installed.

In a statement, the company said their work on other Epic Games products meant they could not give Houseparty "the attention that it deserves".

“We do not take the decision to discontinue the app lightly,” Epic Games said.

“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.”

Houseparty was acquired by Epic Games in 2019 and integrated with Fortnite in 2020.