Houseparty is a video chat application owned by Epic Games that eliminates all the bells and whistles you find in competing services. Instead of complicated menus and a plethora of features, Houseparty’s main lure is spontaneity. Once people start a video chat, friends can jump in and out of these “house parties” to join the conversation.
We associate the experience with something like working in an office, co-working space, or any other social environment. People are going around having water cooler conversations as the day progresses, making dealing with responsibilities much more bearable. You can even play games like UNO, Quick Draw!, and Karaoke together.
Video quality is pretty good, and we haven’t had any trouble with picture or audio during our testing. This was surprising considering Houseparty is meant to be such a casual and laid-back video calling service. I’ve seen advanced video calling apps with worse video and audio quality for sure.
How to get started with Houseparty
We know signing up for yet another online service can be painful. Thankfully, Houseparty has no dress codes or RSVP list, and signing up is a breeze. First things first: download the app or use the Chrome web app.
Download Houseparty app:
After downloading your app of choice, you need to go through the sign-up process. This requires picking a username and providing your name, email, and birthday. You must also create a password and sometimes verify your identity with a phone number (depends on which app you use).
With your account created and the necessary app installed, you can now start looking for friends. You can tap the + button in the top-right corner of the UI and select Add New Friends.
Finding all your friends won’t be too complicated, given you can link your Houseparty account to Facebook and Snapchat to pull your contacts from those social networks. Alternatively, you can search from your phone’s contacts or search by name. When these options aren’t enough, you can copy your profile link and share it with whoever you want, in any way you prefer.
How to throw a Houseparty
Now you are ready to host a video chat. Go put your nice clothes — or at least some clothes — on and come back to get this party started. To start a video chat on Houseparty, you open the app. Seriously, that’s it! Your device’s camera and microphone will become active as soon as the app opens, and people can join in at will.
You can also press the Houseparty icon up top and then hit the phone icon next to whichever contact you want to talk to. Either that or send them a wave to get their attention and see if they are available. You can only add eight people to your house party at one time, which is a good size if you still want to be able to talk to everyone at once.
Houseparty extra features
Houseparty is all about simplicity, so there isn’t much to do other than have group video calls. Extra features are few, but they are pretty entertaining.
Lock the room
This stops people from joining your party. Things can get too crowded sometimes!
- Look for the little lock icon at the bottom of the screen.
- Select it to lock the room.
- Tap on the lock again to unlock the room.
Got nothing to talk about? Houseparty features a few games. These include Heads Up!, Trivia, Chips and Guac, and many more.
- When hosting a party, look for the dice and microphone icon in the top-right corner.
- Tap on the icon and select your game.
- Get playing!
Link to Fortnite
Houseparty is actually owned by Epic Games, creators of Fortnite, so it only makes sense that you can connect the two. This allows for chat rooms while you blast away in the popular battle royale.
- Look for the TV icon with an F in the middle at the top left corner of the screen.
- Tap on it to launch your room.
- Link your Fortnite account.
- Play and chat with your friends!
Sharing your screen
Depending on the device you are using, you may be able to share your screen. This is most useful when not using a mobile device.
- In your Houseparty video chat, look for a monitor icon at the bottom.
- Click on the monitor icon.
- Select what you want to share: the entire screen, app window, browser tab.
- Hit the Share button.
Sometimes you don’t need a full conversation or video chat to get your message across. You can easily send what Houseparty calls a Facemail. This is just a video message that will play whenever the other user opens Houseparty.
- Go you your contacts list.
- Tap on the user you want to send a Facemail to.
- Select Send Facemail.
- Press and hold the shutter button while you record.
- Press the send button.