The deal was announced by Houseparty in a blog post. Terms were not disclosed for the transaction, which follows a $1.25 billion fundraising round by Epic.
“Joining Epic is a great step forward in achieving our mission of bringing empathy to online communication,” Houseparty co-founder and CEO Sima Sistani said. “We have a common vision to make human interaction easier and more enjoyable, and always with respect for user privacy.”
Epic founder and CEO Tim Sweeney said Houseparty “brings people together, creating positive social interactions in real time. By teaming up, we can build even more fun, shared experiences than what could be achieved alone.”
Houseparty has aimed to provide deeper connections between users through a social network based on group video chats. In contrast to Facebook or Twitter users racking up hundreds or thousands of connections, the average Houseparty user has 32 friends on the platform. Users are mostly in their teens and 20s.
In a recent appearance at the Wall Street Journal‘s Future of Everything Festival, Sistani decried the “loneliness epidemic” accelerated by mass social networks. “Last decade [of social media] was about sharing, the next decade will be about participating,” she said. Because it is designed to promote participation, Houseparty will “never grow at the same clip that social media companies before us grew.”
In an FAQ, Houseparty said it does not expect any changes to the functionality of the network in the near term, including “streaks” established by users.
For Epic Games, the acquisition builds on the strength of Fortnite, which continues to be a massive cultural force. A study released Monday by the National Research Group found that the game’s 250 million active players are unusually loyal, preferring to play the game over using Facebook, Instagram, YouTube or Netflix.