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'Fortnite' now offers Houseparty video calls on PC, PS4 and PS5

You'll need to use your phone or tablet as the webcam.
Nick Summers, @nisummers
November 18, 2020
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Houseparty wants to change the way that people communicate while playing video games. The company, which offers a social video calling service on macOS, iOS, Android and Chrome, is now integrating with Fortnite. That means you can chase down victories while chatting to your friends and, more importantly, seeing their faces on screen. You’ll need to have the Houseparty app installed on an iOS or Android device, though. (Your smartphone or tablet acts as the webcam, essentially.) Then, once you’ve linked your Houseparty and Epic Games accounts, you’ll be able to video chat while playing on a PC, PlayStation 4 or PlayStation 5 console.

What about other platforms, such as Xbox and Nintendo? For now, they’re incompatible. “We will let everyone know if we’re able to support more platforms in the future,” the Fortnite team said in a press release.

The integration is clearly meant for close friends and families — the groups you would normally organise in private parties or Discord servers — rather than superstar streamers. Houseparty has recognised the possible privacy implications, though. The company has emphasized that the Houseparty service is restricted to people over the age of 13. And only your Houseparty friends, as well as the friends of anyone in the room, will be able to join your call. You can also block people and, if you want to cap the number of participants, hit the lock button at any time. Finally, every webcam feed will be cropped around the player’s face and given a colorful background.

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