Houseparty (app)

Houseparty is a social networking service that enables group video chatting through mobile and desktop apps. Users receive a notification when friends are online and available to group video chat.[6][7] On average, users spend approximately 51 minutes a day on the app in group or one-on-one chats.[8] It was launched by Life on Air, Inc. in 2016[9][10] and is available on iOS and Android mobile devices and macOS devices.[11][12] A very basic version is also available in Google Chrome for any device and OS.[13][14] Houseparty won a 2020 Webby Special Achievement Award.[15]

Houseparty Logo.svg
Original author(s)Ben Rubin[1][2]
Developer(s)Life on Air Inc. (Epic Games)
Stable release
Android1.31.2 / April 30, 2019; 12 months ago (2019-04-30)[3]
iOS1.31.0 / April 25, 2019; 13 months ago (2019-04-25)[4]
macOS1.12.2 / April 16, 2019; 13 months ago (2019-04-16)[5]
Operating systemiOS, Android, macOS, any OS with Google Chrome
Available inEnglish
TypeVideo streaming, social networking service Edit this at Wikidata


In early 2015, Life On Air, Inc., a team headed by founder and CEO Ben Rubin, released the live streaming app Meerkat and raised $12 million in venture capital funding from Greylock Partners.[16][17][18] Following the release, the creators began developing a new app called "Houseparty" that moved "away from public broadcasts in favor of private chats."[19][20]

The creators released Houseparty to the App Store and Play Store in February 2016 under a pseudonym.[21] It was developed over 10 months with a website redirecting to the Houseparty app in October 2016.[20] The company raised $52 million in venture capital funding from Sequoia Capital in late 2016.[22][23] Each session can host up to eight participants with unlimited sessions. As of 2018, it is available on macOS.[24]

During early 2019, the company partnered with Ellen DeGeneres's app, "Heads Up!".[25] In June 2019, Life on Air, including the Houseparty app, was acquired by Epic Games for an undisclosed amount of money; Life on Air became a subsidiary of Epic Games to continue development of the app.[26][27]

As many countries have gone into lockdown during the COVID-19 pandemic, the app has experienced a large increase in popularity.[28] As of March 2020, Houseparty is the sixth most downloaded free app in the App store in the United States, and the most downloaded app in New Zealand, Canada, and the United Kingdom.[29]

In late March 2020, accusations began circulating on social media that Houseparty led to other services such as Netflix and Spotify being hacked. However, its owners, Epic Games, claimed this was a smear campaign against its product and offered a $1 million bounty for anyone able to substantiate their claim.[30][31][32]


  1. ^ "Houseparty: the teen video chat app taking on Facebook".
  2. ^ "This is awesome. Fun fact, Houseparty's original founder/designer went to architecture school". April 5, 2020.
  3. ^ "Houseparty". Google Play Store. April 30, 2019. Retrieved April 30, 2019.
  4. ^ "Apple on the App Store". iTunes Store. April 25, 2019. Retrieved April 25, 2019.
  5. ^ "Apple on the Mac App Store". Google Play Store. April 16, 2019. Retrieved April 16, 2019.
  6. ^ Murphy, David. "Houseparty Makes It Easy to Video Chat with Multiple Friends on Your Mac". Lifehacker. Retrieved July 1, 2018.
  7. ^ Bell, Karissa. "The video chat app that should scare the hell out of Facebook and Snapchat". Mashable. Retrieved July 1, 2018.
  8. ^ "The future of social media feels a lot like the past". Quartz. June 4, 2018.
  9. ^ "Houseparty brings its group video chat app to Mac". The Verge. Retrieved July 1, 2018.
  10. ^ "What is the Houseparty app and how does it work?". Metro. September 12, 2017. Retrieved July 1, 2018.
  11. ^ "Houseparty: the teen video chat app taking on Facebook". Financial Times. Retrieved July 1, 2018.
  12. ^ "Here's how to use Houseparty, the live video app that teens are going crazy for". Business Insider. Retrieved July 1, 2018.
  13. ^ "What is Houseparty? Plus how to use the face-to-face social app". April 10, 2020. Retrieved April 28, 2020. The Chrome [version] isn't quite as rich as the app - you can't play games at the moment for example, but you can still video chat with friends.
  14. ^ "Desktop". Houseparty. Retrieved April 28, 2020.
  15. ^ Kastrenakes, Jacob (May 20, 2020). "Here are all the winners of the 2020 Webby Awards". The Verge. Retrieved May 22, 2020.
  16. ^ "Meerkat, star app of 2015, is officially dead".
  17. ^ Johnson, Eric (March 17, 2018). "Meerkat was the darling of SXSW in 2015. Here's why it pivoted three months later and became Houseparty". Vox.
  18. ^ "Meerkat raises $12 million - Business Insider". Business Insider. March 21, 2015.
  19. ^ Newton, Casey (March 9, 2015). "Meerkat is a little app that's turning live video into a big deal again". The Verge.
  20. ^ a b "Meerkat live-streaming app 'dead'". BBC News. October 4, 2016 – via
  21. ^ "Meerkat built a new app in secret, and almost 1 million people are using it". The Verge. September 28, 2016.
  22. ^ "With 1 Million Daily Users, Group Video App Houseparty Could Overtake Snapchat In Race To Attract Post-Millennials". NoCamels - Israeli Innovation News. December 14, 2016. Retrieved July 1, 2018.
  23. ^ "A startup founder's 'comeback' app is catching fire with teens — and it just got a $50 million check". Business Insider. Retrieved July 1, 2018.
  24. ^ "These apps give you the best features of iOS 12 before the update rolls out". Popular Science. June 28, 2018.
  25. ^ Cohen, David; 2019 (January 17, 2019). "Houseparty Is Taking Its First Monetization Steps With The Ellen Degeneres Show". Retrieved December 1, 2019.CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
  26. ^ Kastrenakes, Jacob (June 12, 2019). "Fortnite maker Epic Games buys video chat app Houseparty". The Verge. Retrieved March 31, 2020.
  27. ^ Rebecca Aydin (June 12, 2019). "Epic Games, the maker of 'Fortnite', acquired teen chat app Houseparty in a surprise deal". Business Insider. Retrieved December 1, 2019.
  28. ^ Burrows, Matt (March 28, 2020). "Houseparty: How an app has taken over New Zealand and the world thanks to coronavirus". Newshub. Retrieved March 30, 2020.
  29. ^ Stone, Zara (March 27, 2020). "Zoom Is Dead. Long Live Houseparty". Medium. Retrieved March 30, 2020.
  30. ^ "Houseparty offers $1m reward for proof of sabotage". BBC News. March 31, 2020. Retrieved March 31, 2020.
  31. ^ Winder, Davey (March 31, 2020). "Has Houseparty Been Sabotaged? $1 Million Reward Offered As Hacking Claims Go Viral". Forbes. Retrieved March 31, 2020.
  32. ^ Griffin, Andrew (March 31, 2020). "Lots of people are saying you should delete Houseparty right now. But should you?". The Independent. Retrieved March 31, 2020.

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