Soon, you will be able to see your friends while playing Fortnite together online. Epic adds a new video chat feature to the battle royale game, where players can view their friends’ live feeds in the game. It’s rolling out today, although initially, the feature will only be available on PC, PS4, and PS5.
This feature powered by Houseparty, the Epic’s chat app acquired last year (Houseparty has been supporting Fortnite’s cross-platform voice chat since last September). To use it, you have to link your Epic and Houseparty accounts; after it’s done, you can activate “Fortnite mode” in the app. When this happens, you can create a group of friends, and their live feed will be shown on the left side of the screen while you play the game. You can create a party of up to 10 people on the app, although only four will appear in Fortnite (The most recently active will be displayed).
It means you need some hardware to make everything work. In addition to a PC or PlayStation for the game itself, you’ll also need to have Houseparty running on an iOS or Android device to serve as your camera. It may sound a bit clunky, but Epic says Houseparty users are already doing it, and this is simply an attempt to streamline the process.
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With a nice touch, the Houseparty app will show only your face; the camera will automatically go into your face (Epic says it uses the face detection library from Apple and Google to empower this) and replaces everything else with a colorful background. If your face moves off-camera, the feed won’t show anything but your background. It was done in part for safety reasons but also to keep things focused.
This update makes a lot of sense given Fortnite’s steady shift from third-person shooters to full-fledged social spaces. Over the past year, Epic has developed the game well beyond its battle royale origins with a violence-free social space called Party Royale and an increasingly complex in-game concert stream.
Epic did not say whether the feature will be present in other games or when it will be available in Fortnite on other platforms.