Houseparty App Brings Kenyans Together While Maintaining Social Distance

Lockdown Kenya

When my friend asked me if I wanted to join her houseparty a few days ago, I thought she was being rebellious and before I gave her a stern talk on Social Distancing, she sent me a link. It was a link to this video calling app called Houseparty app and it really caught my eye.

We did a piece on Kubool and other anonymous messaging apps Kenyans have been using. It seems like people are now missing their friends and families and refraining from anonymity. This is where the likes of Zoom and Houseparty come into the picture.

I can imagine if this was ten years ago and we didn’t have video calling capabilities. Life would have bin a tad bit harder. Thank the stars for the advancements technology!

What Is The HouseParty App?

Houseparty is a face-to-face social network where you can connect with people all around the world. Your friends, family, colleagues, classmates, you name it.

To further ease matters, the Houseparty app sends out a notification when someone opens the app, letting you know they are available to hang. You can also “wave” to get their attention.I’m not too sure I want them to know how free I am. I want them to look for me! Anyway, that’s beside the point.

Of course, if you’d rather that people don’t get notifications, you can turn them off in the app’s settings. You can also do that selectively, by “ghosting” the friends you don’t want to be notified. And if you don’t want people just strolling into your video chatroom, you can also choose to “lock” it.


Features of House Party

  • Capacity: Only eight people are allowed in a single Houseparty room. It’s supposed to be more intimate, a place for friends. It fosters a sense of freewheeling connection and doesn’t feel like a business app.
  • “Facemail”: You can then send recordings of the call to other friends or people in the same room. This gives you the option to preserve parts of the conversation.
  • Share Your Screen: Houseparty also allows you to share what’s happening on your screen, turning the app into a co-watching experience that’s in fashion during the lockdown.
  • Calls and Texts: You can also text friends in the app both on and off a call.
  • Games: Houseparty goes further than other group video call apps by offering integrated games — it’s the button with the two dice.
    • Trivia,
    • Quickdraw (like Pictionary)
    • Chips and Guac (word association)
    • Heads Up! (charades).

Among trivia, you can choose from a variety of topics, be it superheroes, song lyrics, geography or sports among others. While most games are free, Heads Up! requires you to pay for most decks.

In fact, all other games were paid as well until Epic Games, the gaming giant behind battle royale and Fortnite, acquired Houseparty. Epic made the games free. It also chose to keep the app independent. his meant that the two wouldn’t share user data, though it naturally has made use of Houseparty’s tech to boost Fortnite’s social features.

Download Houseparty Here

How Well Are People Adopting The Houseparty App?

The growth rate (in terms of users and usage) of the Houseparty App has seen an upward spiral. It is even much more rapid than other video conferencing apps like Zoom, Skype and others.

The image below shows the pace of growth of global downloads for Houseparty and other video apps.

Houseparty app growth rate

With this virality, it is hoped that users continually use the app to organize parties, chat with friends and find nearby friends —even after the COVID-19 saga.


At the end of the day, Houseparty is just another group video call app like Zoom, Skype or Google Duo. You can integrate these same games on these other platforms. Given the fact that it might be harder but it can still be done. Look at Zoom for example:



Zoom has lifted time limits on its video calls for the free versions in China, as well as for schools in Japan, Italy, and the US, by request.

“We really want to do what’s right. The opportunity to get more people exposed to Zoom we think, will reap benefits in the future.” Zoom’s Steckelberg told Yahoo.

The main feature of Zoom is meetings. The “Meetings” service is designed for collaboration, training, and technical support.

It features:

  • Whiteboarding
  • Screen sharing
  • HD video and audio
  • Remote screen control features
  • Host up to 100 participants.
  • 40 mins limit on group meetings.
  • Active speaker view.
  • Fullscreen and gallery view.
  • Simultaneous Screen Share.
  • Join by telephone call-in.
  • Personal room or meeting ID and more.

The differences are not too broad. The most prevalent one is that Zoom is a bit more formal than Houseparty. It’ll be interesting to see how it will fare once we’re not cooped up in our houses anymore. But with the pandemic only getting worse right now, we can all use Houseparty as another distraction to get ourselves through this.


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