Fortnite Introduces Cross-Platform Voice Chat
Today, on September 22, Fortnite players finally got the feature many of them have been dreaming about. Though the game itself has been cross-platform since the beginning, there were many extras that required more elaborate cross-platform syncing, so Fortnite was missing, say, a full-fledged voice chat. Until today when Epic rolled out the update for mobile devices, letting the players talk to each other regardless of their platform – iOS, regular Android, or Amazon.
Houseparty: Not the Game You Thought of
When a gamer hears the name “Houseparty”, probably the first thought concerns a scandalous party simulator, so obscene that it was banned on Twitch. No wonder: the game is less popular than Fortnite, but still makes a cult. But it’s a different Houseparty we mean.
The voice chat that Fortnite has since today is based on a technology developed and supported by Houseparty. Epic, the publisher of Fortnite, acquired this company in early summer 2019, and now it pays. The chat supports, among all, full-fledged duplex voice chat, letting you speak and hear the others at the same time. And, like any VoIP service should, it displays your friends that are currently online.
How to Find Voice Chat in the App
While desktop and console versions don’t offer voice chat yet, it’s quite easy on mobiles. Do the following:
- Run Fortnite on your mobile device;
- Open “Party Hub” option;
- Select the friends to start the chat with;
It doesn’t require your friends to be playing now: if they are just online, it’s okay. You can also prevent calls by tapping just one button in Settings. On the other hand, llama bells are now more than just elements of design: you can ring one to start a group chat.
The good news is that you can log in on both devices simultaneously. This delivers you the comfort of freedom: the gamepad delivers you the physical sensation of the combat, and the phone or the tablet lets you chat with your voice, in fact, doing the telephone’s work. This combination may require a one-ear Bluetooth headset or a speaker on, but it’s still quite convenient and feels better than using, say, Discord while playing.
Those familiar with solutions by Houseparty know that video chat is the core feature of the project. For obvious reasons, Epic doesn’t introduce video chat in Fortnite, so you can only speak by voice. On the one hand, this makes sense: showing other players your own perspective may be taken for cheating. On another, it might be quite a common practice within a team.
Potential text chatting doesn’t arouse these doubts and speculations, but so far, it’s speculation itself.
Still, as Epic SF studio director (and COE of Houseparty) Sima Sistani notices, a gaming platform can deliver a totally new experience in communication in general: not as political as Facebook, not as beauty-obsessed as Instagram, not as openly public as Twitter. Maybe Fortnite will be claimed too violent a platform. Then it will be a challenge for Epic to create and promote something non-action – a puzzle or a life simulator. Still, even if this isn’t a new era in online communication, it’s still a great tool for the Fortnite community.