Until this March, Houseparty was an app popular in the West and almost unknown in India. That has changed since the Covid-19 lockdown. Quentin Staes-Polet, GM India and SEA-Epic Games told indianexpress.com that in India Houseparty has grown by 159X over a “recent 30 day period“ compared to the previous 30 day period.
“It has been very encouraging to see the overwhelming response of the Indian users,” Staes-Polet said.
In terms of engagement and usage patterns, the average time in conversation per user remains at over 65 minutes despite the massive growth. “This implies that Houseparty’s new users are heavily engaged with the platform,” he said.
Houseparty is different from other video calling apps. It not only allows users to meet each other virtually but also engages them in different activities so they don’t miss meeting each other in-person. The app includes lots of games that users can play together and have the experience of an actual physical house party.
Staes-Polet said users are using the platform for various activities such as engagement parties, family reunion, and other similar activities. Nearly half of the people having a conversation on Houseparty play games instead of just having a normal video call, he added.
Houseparty also hosts new virtual events. Since the lockdown, the platform has added many new games so users don’t get bored playing the same handful of games again and again. “We ensure to offer a first-class experience to our users. To enhance the user experience we host virtual concerts, pop-stars, cooking sessions and allow users to watch them together without having to meet each other in person,” Staes-Polet said.
For Houseparty, Staes-Polet said, user data is critical. At the beginning of lockdown several users complained that Houseparty is easy to hack and scammers are using the platform to steal user data and money. Staes-Polet said the company investigated the matter and found it to be totally false. “Those were malicious rumours. We are approved on Google Play store and Apple App store and our platform is completely secure and safe to use,” Staes-Polet said.
“With the growing internet penetration and having one of the youngest populations across the world, Houseparty sees great potential from the Indian market,” he added.
In times to come, Houseparty is looking to offer localised content to users. “The objective is to grow the network and offer better experience. And if everything goes well we might offer premium content to our users and charge for it.. but this is a distant plan,” Staes-Polet said. “At Epic Games, we also have a strong policy to not serve ads to our users and won’t sell customer data ever,” he added.
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