Epic is bringing Houseparty's video chat to Fortnite

If you've ever wanted to see the faces of the people you're shooting and screaming at in Fortnite, you'll be happy to hear that it's now an option. Epic Games anounced today that Fortnite on PC and PlayStation consoles now has integrated video chat courtesy of the Houseparty chat app.

To take advantage of the new chat functionality, you'll need a Houseparty account linked to your Epic Games account. You'll also need an Android or iOS mobile device with the Houseparty mobile app installed, because that, rather than a webcam, is where your video feed will come from. Position your phone so its camera properly frames your face, and you're ready to go.

Without wanting to indulge too much in sweeping generalities, adding integrated video chat to Fortnite might at first glance seem like something with the potential to be a Very Bad Idea. Perhaps in anticipation of the worst, Houseparty in Fortnite will be cropped to only focus on players' faces, with a Fortnite-themed virtual background, and an option in the Fortnite parental controls will enable it to be turned off entirely.

It may not be the most obviously-needed addition to Fortnite, and honestly I think I'd find the presence of shouting faces (because you know everybody's going to be shouting) on the screen while I'm trying to line up shots to be very distracting. Epic owns Houseparty, though—it acquired the company in mid-2019 for an undisclosed sum—and even though it's already one of the most-downloaded app on both Android and iOS devices, integrating it into one of the biggest games on the planet is bound to be a big shot in the arm.

Fortnite's new Houseparty video chat functionality is set to go live today, and may even be live by the time you read this. Find out more at epicgames.com.

Andy Chalk

Andy has been gaming on PCs from the very beginning, starting as a youngster with text adventures and primitive action games on a cassette-based TRS80. From there he graduated to the glory days of Sierra Online adventures and Microprose sims, ran a local BBS, learned how to build PCs, and developed a longstanding love of RPGs, immersive sims, and shooters. He began writing videogame news in 2007 for The Escapist and somehow managed to avoid getting fired until 2014, when he joined the storied ranks of PC Gamer. He covers all aspects of the industry, from new game announcements and patch notes to legal disputes, Twitch beefs, esports, and Henry Cavill. Lots of Henry Cavill.