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Houseparty – The game app that has taken over New Zealand at the time of Covid 19

Houseparty – The game app that has taken over New Zealand at the time of Covid 19

House Party App free download - Houseparty
house party app

Houseparty is a social media app with a rating of 4.7 is the most popular gaming app which has taken over New Zealand at the time of Covid 19. The reason that this app allows you to video chat and play games with one another in a similar way to if you were hanging out face-to-face.

Mobile application analytics company App Annie shows Houseparty has practically been an overnight success. On March 17, it was ranked 1143rd overall in New Zealand on Apple’s App Store. Just six days later, it had risen to 1st. In that same period, it went from being our 12th most popular social media app to ousting the likes of Instagram and Facebook to be number one by March 23.

In the US and UK, as well as France, Spain, and countries all around Europe, a similar rapid escalation in downloads was seen, coinciding with the introduction of stringent coronavirus protocols.

Houseparty’s success seems to come from it having a much more informal feel when compared to its rivals – it’s much more geared to social interactions than professional video-call platforms like Google Hangouts or Zoom. The app accesses your contacts and allows you to be in contact with up to eight people at a time.

If you leave the ‘door’ to the conversation unlocked, mutual friends can ‘walk in’ – much like a house party in real life. If that’s not your cup of tea, you can also lock the call to only be accessible to invitees.

The app’s emphasis on socializing extends to screen-sharing capabilities and in-app games, like trivia quizzes and word association competitions.

About House Party App

About house party app
About House Party App

As Houseparty is a free social network owned by Epic Games (the creators of Fortnite). It is available on iOS, Android, macOS and Google Chrome and enables group video chatting through mobile and desktop apps. People get a notification when their friends are online and available to chat, and they can use Houseparty to host quiz nights, concerts, family reunions and birthday parties.

After it’s been downloaded, the app requires users to create an account using their full name, email address and date of birth. Once signed up, people can invite their friends to video chat within ‘rooms’ – there’s a maximum of eight people at a time though.

Houseparty is easy to use and focused on fun rather than formal interactions. People can come and go from rooms just like a real house party, and people can play games like Trivia, Heads Up and Quick Draw.

Points to remember if you want to join House Party App on your mobile

House Party App to download in NZ
Points to remember if you want to join House Party App on your mobile
  • Like with other video chats, screens can be recorded by others within the chat meaning your images and videos of your chat could be captured and potentially shared.
  • According to Houseparty’s Terms of Service, your data is automatically collected. Users must opt out of sharing this information and if you do opt out some of your data (considered non-personal) will still be retained.
  • Unlike most video chat platforms, you don’t have to be invited to join a room. If you see your friends are active in a room, you can join without an invitation or warning – or they could call you. If this happens, you might end up in a room with friends and other people you don’t know.
  • You might be exposed to inappropriate content, but this will largely depend on who you are communicating with and the types of pictures, screenshots and videos being shared.
  • Houseparty relies on contacts stored on your device, so all someone may need to find you is your phone number.
  • Houseparty asks for access to your location. If someone near you downloaded Houseparty, you can invite them if both of you open the Nearby screen.

Keep yourself safe and secure at House Party

House Party App features
Keep yourself safe and secure at House Party

While Houseparty requires you to share some personal details to join, you can limit the amount of information you share by creating a username and keep your details private.

Before diving into your first Houseparty, get to know it by familiarizing yourself with the Terms of Service and Privacy Policy.

Houseparty allows people to lock rooms by tapping on the padlock icon in the chatroom. In your settings, there is also an option to automatically lock all rooms you enter. Locking rooms allows you to stop anyone else from joining your chat uninvited, giving you more control over who you are talking to.

By tapping on the cog icon above your friends’ list, you can access and change your settings such as your location and notification settings to suit your preferences. Also if you don’t want to chat, but want to see who’s around, you can do this by pressing the app’s icon on your phone a little longer than usual and hitting the “Sneak Into the House” option.

Keep an eye out on who is entering your party rooms and make sure you’re comfortable with others hearing and seeing what you are sharing on the video call. If you’re talking to someone you don’t trust, leave the room.

Because Houseparty sends you instant notifications every time one of your friends comes online it can be easy to spend more time on the app than you’d like. You can control this by hitting the smiley-face icon on the upper left of the main screen. That will give you the option to turn off notifications completely or to mute them for individual friends.

There have been concerns that Houseparty was hacked, but this hasn’t been confirmed. It’s a good idea to use a different password combination for your accounts, otherwise, it makes it easy for hackers to access all of your accounts if they have your email address.

While Houseparty states that users must be 13 years and older to use the app, there is currently no age verification system. There are also concerns that Houseparty can make young people feel excluded or bullied and they might have unwanted contact with people they don’t know.

As with any online safety issue, know that having regular and open conversations with your children about what they are doing helps mitigate potential harm. It’s important to set boundaries with your kids if they do use it – lock rooms, outline your expectations about the games and what they can and cannot do. Encourage your child to share with you if they have upsetting experiences and make sure they’re aware that any harassment, inappropriate language, bullying, or hacking can be reported.

HouseParty App download

House Party App download
HouseParty App download

Though Houseparty app is not a new app, as it was launched in 2016.  But now in 2020, it is New Zealand’s number one app.  All the evidence points to Houseparty downloads increasing at astronomic levels at the exact same time as cities, regions and countries enter lockdown.

One of the app’s main features is allowing users to see when their friends are at home. Then notify them so they can start a video chat. But in lockdown, people are home all the time – which goes some way to explaining why it’s become so popular in such a short space of time.

Part of this rise has something to do with the ‘happy hour’ trend that’s recently been doing the rounds on social media, in which self-isolating friends video-call each other with a drink in hand to chat about their day, in much the same way they would at after-work drinks.

Click here to download House Party App for your iPhone

Click here to download House Party App for your Android