If you've ever wanted to see the faces of the people you're shooting and screaming at in Fortnite (opens in new tab), 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 (opens in new tab) 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 (opens in new tab).