As I often say, I’m the world’s worst Fortnite player. Unless I can catch someone standing still for an extended period of time and snipe them from an ungodly distance, I take shotguns to the face and build about as well as a three-year old. However, Fortnite is more than just running-and-gunning; there’s a big social component to the game, too, and that’s even more apparent now that you can have full-on video chats within the game itself.
I long for the day that my weekly Zoom meetings transfer over to Fortnite. But until then, I’ll have to settle with video-chatting my friends via Fortnite’s new integration with the chat service Houseparty. Setting it up is a bit of a process, but worth it.
First, and most important, make sure you’ve updated Fortnite on your PC to the latest version. That might be a big download from the Epic Games store, so be prepared to wait a bit. But that gives you plenty of time to also install Houseparty on your iOS or Android device, which you’ll need for this to work.
Once you’re ready with both apps, launch Houseparty and tap on the icon of a TV with an “F” inside of it. You’ll now have to link Houseparty account to your Epic Games account:
Leave the app open and launch Fortnite. Once the game has loaded, tap on that TV icon within Houseparty once again. You’ll now be able to turn on “Fortnite mode” and appear within the game, as shown below:
And anyone who joins your Houseparty chat will appear below you — either your friends, or friends of the people already in your video chat. They don’t have to be playing Fortnite to join your party. As you play the game, members of your virtual chat will appear in a left-hand sidebar:
The fun bit about Fortnite’s Houseparty integration is that the game automatically slaps you into a virtual background — so you aren’t accidentally sharing details of your house — and it zooms in on your face. Ideally, that should prevent a decent amount of abuse and/or privacy issues with this video chat feature. No promises, though.
If you’re a parent and really hate the idea of your kid mashing their favourite video chat service into their favourite video game, you can use Fortnite’s parental controls to block Houseparty entirely. Heck, you can disable all voice chat, too, if your kid, their friends, or their random combatants are getting a bit too rage-filled during the various battle royales. Your child may hate you, but at least they won’t be tempted to curse out everyone they’re playing with whenever they get that Impossible Shot medal.
(To be fair, I’m an adult and even I have choice words to say the few times I nail one of those. It’s just that exhilarating.)