In the ever-evolving landscape of social networking services, few applications manage to capture the zeitgeist quite like Houseparty did. Launched in 2016 by Life on Air, Inc., the app quickly became synonymous with group video chatting, offering users a unique and interactive way to connect with friends. However, the journey from its inception to the surprising decision by Epic Games to discontinue the platform in 2021 is a tale of innovation, acquisition, and the challenges of maintaining relevance in a competitive market.
Sima Sistani Bio, Age, Net Worth, Wiki, Parents, Family, Wedding
|Founder and CEO (Life on Air, Inc.)
|Co-founder and CEO (Houseparty)
|Partnered with Houseparty for “Heads Up!”
|Alicia Keys, Neil Patrick Harris, Zooey Deschanel, Terry Crews
The Birth of Houseparty:
The Houseparty story begins with the success of Meerkat, a live streaming app developed by Life on Air, Inc., led by founder and CEO Ben Rubin. Following a $12 million venture capital funding round from Greylock Partners, the team shifted their focus towards developing a new app that moved away from public broadcasts, aiming for more intimate and private interactions. Thus, Houseparty was born, officially released on the App Store and Play Store in February 2016.
The app gained traction quickly, with users spending an average of over 60 minutes per conversation in group or one-on-one chats. Over the course of its development, Houseparty raised an impressive $52 million in venture capital funding from Sequoia Capital in late 2016, solidifying its position as a player in the social networking scene.
Acquisition by Epic Games:
In a surprising turn of events, Houseparty caught the attention of Epic Games, the company behind the wildly popular Fortnite. In 2019, Sima Sistani, Houseparty’s co-founder, was announced as the CEO of Life on Air, Inc., leading the acquisition of Houseparty by Epic Games. The move was strategic, given Houseparty’s popularity among Fortnite players, creating synergy between the two platforms.
Under Epic Games, Houseparty continued to evolve. In May 2020, the app announced “In The House,” a three-day festival featuring live at-home performances by celebrities, further solidifying its position as a go-to platform for social interactions.
The Demise of Houseparty:
The unexpected twist in the Houseparty saga came on September 9, 2021, when Epic Games announced the decision to discontinue the service. The app was removed from the app stores on the same day, but existing users could continue to use it until October 2021. The announcement marked the end of an era for Houseparty and left many users surprised and disappointed.
The reasons behind the discontinuation were not explicitly stated by Epic Games. However, the move raised questions about the challenges of maintaining a social networking platform in a rapidly changing landscape.
The Technology Behind the Trend:
Houseparty distinguished itself as a “face-to-face social network,” allowing up to eight participants to interact in a single session. Users received notifications when friends were online, fostering spontaneous group video chats or floating between chat rooms. The app’s integration with other popular games and its “virtual living room” appeal earned it praise as a unique and engaging platform.
During the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, Houseparty experienced a surge in popularity as lockdowns around the world led to an increased demand for virtual social interactions. The app was downloaded more than 17 million times in March 2020 and won a 2020 Webby Award for “Breakout of the Year.” However, the app also faced controversy when it was falsely accused of being hacked, a claim vehemently denied by CEO Sima Sistani.
The Houseparty journey is a testament to the dynamic nature of the tech industry. From its humble beginnings as a response to the limitations of live streaming apps, it rose to prominence during a global pandemic. However, the decision by Epic Games to discontinue the platform raises questions about the challenges of sustaining a social networking service in a competitive market.
As we bid farewell to Houseparty, its impact on the way we connect and socialize in the digital age will not be forgotten. Whether it’s a lesson in adaptability, the risks of rapid expansion, or the unpredictable nature of user preferences, Houseparty’s story is a valuable chapter in the annals of social media history.
What is Houseparty?
Houseparty was a social networking service launched in 2016 by Life on Air, Inc. It allowed users to engage in group video chats, becoming popular for its interactive and spontaneous nature.
Who were the key figures behind Houseparty?
Ben Rubin, the founder and CEO of Life on Air, Inc., played a pivotal role in the development of Houseparty. Sima Sistani, co-founder, and later CEO, contributed significantly to its growth.
Why was Houseparty discontinued?
Epic Games, the company behind Fortnite, announced the decision to discontinue Houseparty on September 9, 2021. The exact reasons for the discontinuation were not explicitly stated.
How did Houseparty adapt during the COVID-19 pandemic?
The app experienced a surge in popularity during the global lockdowns in early 2020, with more than 17 million downloads in March. It became a virtual gathering space for friends and family during a time of social distancing.
What were Houseparty’s notable partnerships and events?
Houseparty collaborated with Ellen DeGeneres’s app, “Heads Up!” In May 2020, the app hosted “In The House,” a three-day festival featuring live performances by celebrities like Alicia Keys and Neil Patrick Harris.