Gaming is no longer a solitary activity, even if you are playing a single-player offline game. Gamers have various ways to keep in touch with like-minded friends, primarily through voice or text group chats. While there are dedicated platforms like Discord for that, Epic Games wants to save its users from having to do extra work for that. That’s why it will soon be introducing a party system in the Epic Games Store to let friends and players gather around their favorite titles or matches.
This won’t suddenly give your game a party system though you can definitely hold a party with others while playing the same game. This Party System simply lets players easily jump in and out of such groups at any time, like while waiting for a game that everyone will play or, when that has been decided, continuing that chat in-game. In the latter case, there will be an in-game “Party Representation” that can be toggled on or off as needed, pretty much like an overlay.
Whether or not a party system is what Epic Games Store users want is a different question but the feature isn’t landing just yet anyway. What the desktop app will be getting this month is a Player Card that lets you more easily manage your friend as well as a Do Not Disturb status when you don’t feel like being sociable. There is a minimized view also available when you still want to keep an eye on social notifications without taking over your Store browsing.
At the same time, Epic Games isn’t shy about removing features that it realizes aren’t used that much. Whispers are going away in the next update but the game developer does warn that it will someday be back with improved messaging functionality.
Epic Games Store is definitely growing its features to rise up against the incumbent giant that is Steam. That said, there are some that still find its progress is a tad too slow and focused on things that might not matter as much to gamers compared to, for example, something like Achievements and Wishlists.