Video chat app Houseparty will be shut down, after keeping friends and family together through the pandemic and its lockdowns.
Owner Epic – which makes Fortnite among other products – said that it wanted the team behind it to focus on other kinds of social feartures, in different games.
But the shutdown might also be a result of the decreasing popularity of the app as much of the world has returned to socialising more in real life.
Houseparty became popular in the early days of the pandemic. Though it offered video calls, it did so in a different way from platforms such as Zoom or FaceTime – users could drop into rooms of other people who were online, and play games or quizzes with them.
In its announcement, Epic recognised that “in a year when we couldn’t be physically together”, people had “turned to Houseparty to laugh, play games, and create memories while apart”.
But it said it would now be shutting down the app, as well as its integrations with Fortnite.
The app has been removed from the Android and iOS app stores immediately, so nobody new will be able to join the platform. Those who have it already will continue to be able to do so until the service is shut down in October.
The team behind Houseparty will continue to work on social features, Epic said, though it did not say exactly what those might be.
“The team behind Houseparty is working on creating new ways to have meaningful and authentic social interactions at metaverse scale across the Epic Games family,” it wrote in a statement. “Since joining Epic, the Houseparty team’s social vision and core technology have already contributed to new features used by hundreds of millions of people in Fortnite and by developers around the world.