Stay at Home orders issued by local governments have ruled out many of the social activities people were looking forward to — birthday parties, casual dinners, drinks with friends, gym sessions. However, the new Houseparty app is letting people regain a semblance of freedom from their homes. The video chat app lets users host “get-togethers” from the comfort of their couch.
Available on iOS, Android, macOS, and Chrome, the app makes it easy to host gatherings while following social distancing guidelines.
Andrew (last name withheld), an advertising executive, told Financial Times the app allows users to resume their usual social activities, but virtually. “I’ve been to three or four different parties in one night.”
Since millions of people worldwide have been ordered to stay home in order to “flatten the curve” of the virus, the Houseparty app has increased in popularity. And, it’s not just for Gen Z-ers and Millennials — it’s for everyone.
Throwing a Virtual House Party
The San Fransisco-based app, which is more than a mere video chat feature, is owned by Fortnite developer Epic Games and amassed over two million downloads last week alone. Houseparty ranks number one in the Apple app store.
Houseparty CEOs, Sima Sistani and Ben Rubin added mobile game Heads Up in January 2019 and Trivia in April 2019, which expanded the social networking aspect of the app. While the Houseparty app didn’t peak in popularity right away, the pandemic has made it an overnight sensation.
Houseparty user Miranda di Carcaci told Financial Times she first noticed the app a few weeks ago when her friends in Italy shared screenshots of themselves hanging out via the video chat app. Her take: “[Houseparty’s popularity] seems to have followed coronavirus around the globe,”
Indeed, of late, millions have been enjoying video chat apps to host a virtual happy hour, date nights, and mental health check-ins.
Other fan-favorites apps for video chatting are Zoom and Google Hangouts. However, Houseparty has a casual-take on the apps normally used for video conferences.
Rubin told Financial Times that while the app was only popular among teens in its initial launch, adults are seeking these same connections now.
What’s more, the app lets you have up to eight people in the group conversation, abiding by Trump’s “No more than 10 people in one place” — if cyberspace counts, too.