The Gen-Z Match Made in Heaven
The company behind Fortnite, Epic Games, announced today that it was acquiring the popular video chat app, Houseparty. While this isn’t really related to the usual topics that are covered on FuturEar, I thought this to be significant enough to warrant a blog post on it. In my opinion, this is one of the more interesting acquisitions I’ve seen recently, so let’s go ahead and break this down.
Fortnite is huge and still growing, recently topping 250 million registered users. The really interesting thing I find about Fortnite isn’t really the game (I’m terrible), but rather what Fortnite has the potential to be – a digital environment to hang out in with friends. We saw the first signs that Epic Games might be aspiring for more than just facilitating gameplay, with the Marshmello concert held last year.
Far From Alone: Sources are telling me there were more than *10 million concurrent players* watching the @marshmellomusic concert in @FortniteGame today – on top of the millions watching online. What a moment for gaming! pic.twitter.com/fkrPNjSC9I
— Geoff Keighley (@geoffkeighley) February 3, 2019
Think about that tweet for a second. A rather random DJ hosted a concert for 10 million people. That is an absurdly large audience. If Bruce Springsteen held a concert at the biggest stadium in the US, The Big House, he’d only be able to perform for about 120,000+ people. Marshmello had an audience roughly 100 times the size of that!
Houseparty is a video chat app that allows for up to 8 people to join a “houseparty.” Kerry Flynn of Digiday compared it to AOL instant messenger, but with video chat, for a new generation. According to Digiday, 60% of Houseparty’s user base is under the age of 24, aka Gen-Z. Similarly, a survey conducted by Newzoo showed that 53% of Fortnite users were ages 10-25. Chances are a large number of Fortnite players are using Houseparty, and vice-versa.
So, now that Epic Games owns Houseparty, it stands to reason that we might start to see a video chat feature added to the game. On the surface, this applies to the game itself. Today, if you’re playing the battle royale on a team of four, you can communicate through a headset. Down the line, we might see a video chat feature to join a group chat of your teammates, and maybe even some other friends who aren’t even playing but hanging out and watching.
Below the surface, think about the way this can fuse shared experiences together in the real and digital world. It’s not that far-fetched to think that you’d be able to go see a concert, or maybe an e-sports game, or go virtual shopping, with your friends as avatars in Fortnite, while simultaneously hanging out together via video chat. Who knows, maybe it will be Epic Games that is first to usher in something like Ready Player One’s OASIS.
-Thanks for Reading-