TMCnet Feature
September 04, 2020

How Houseparty brought fun back to video conferencing

On Fatigue – and Fighting It

Even just ten years ago, “Video conferencing fatigue” was not something many people could have ever imagined thinking about – or feeling – on a daily basis. However, times have changed rapidly over the course of the last decade. Technology has improved at unprecedented rates, and we now have more tools keeping us more connected than ever before. This is a great thing, especially when we can’t always be with colleagues, clients, friends, and family members, but it can also be tiring.

Video calls for work can require us to focus very intently to understand conversations, note key information, and pay attention to every word being said all of the time. They also put us in front of devices full of distractions, and technological issues can make it hard to follow a conversation. At the end of a busy day full of video calls, the last thing you might want to do is catch up with your friends through a group video chat, even though you miss them dearly.

Do Away with the Formalities

Your video calls for work likely involve a number of moving parts. There’s the invitation, sent by email. There’s the waiting room, where you may spend longer than you want hoping that nothing went wrong with your (or your client’s) scheduling system. There might be breakout sessions with colleagues, screen shares, and complex presentations, all of which require your rapt, undivided attention.

Then there’s Houseparty. Houseparty is a social platform that makes it easy to casually hang out with friends over video. Simply install the app on your iOS or Android (News - Alert) device and use your current list of contacts to add friends and see who’s “in the House.” You’ll receive notifications pushed to your device when friends are hanging out, making it easy to hop into a chat room and catch up with people whenever you want to. You can join a video chat for a few minutes or a few hours – there’s no pressure, no built-in agenda, and no commitment. It feels just like being a guest at a real party, and it has proven to be a powerful antidote for chat fatigue when many people have badly needed one.

If you want to have a private group hang, Houseparty can facilitate that, as well – you can be invisible on the platform and create locked rooms, keeping your Houseparty safe from party crashers when you don’t want them around.  

Go Beyond Just Chat

In addition to offering basic video chat functionality and an innovative, new way to utilize it that keeps things fun and fast, Houseparty differentiates itself by providing partiers with a number of additional features, including built-in games.

The first of these included Heads Up, a digital version of the classic party game with a combination of free decks and additional ones made available to buy, Chips & Guac, a game of word association, and Quick Draw, a game in which players must use their phone screens to draw something (and make sure that the other players can identify what it is).

Houseparty Trivia, much like trivia at your favorite bar, gives players a wide variety of decks to choose from. For example, Fortnite fans had the opportunity to answer Fortnite-related trivia questions during a special event in April that had millions of players and allowed them to collect a special item in-game. The hit TV show Friends was the subject of a special deck earlier this year. The UEFA and Pepsi also partnered to launch a deck celebrating the return of the UEFA Champions League this August, with Man U star Paul Pogba crashing a Houseparty the moment a tough question about his career appeared.

These are deep, robust trivia decks loaded with hundreds of questions, keeping the action moving and the questions fresh for many, many games to come – you’ll never have the age-old problem of memorizing all the answers to ruin your good time.

Newer Games

As 2020 rolls on, Houseparty has created and adapted a number of other games to keep people playing. Word Racers is a word game in which players have to unscramble a group of letters to find more words faster than anyone else, and its three rounds take less than five minutes to blast through, making it a way to pass time that’s far more efficient than a crossword or many games like it.

Houseparty has also partnered with Mattel to adapt both the Magic 8-Ball and UNO for the platform. Players can shake their devices to ask the Magic 8-Ball a question and get any of the traditional answers they probably remember, including “Outlook not so good,” “It is decidedly so,” and “Reply hazy, try again.” UNO brings all the action of the card game to Houseparty, making it easy to plow through your stack of cards while doing everything you can to sabotage your friends.

Expect to see more from the Houseparty team in the future, and find out more about how Houseparty is continuing to create new experiences for video chatters worldwide.

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