In a continued effort to establish itself among other video chatting services, Houseparty has announced that the application will now feature an empty room where socially anxious people can hang out with a cat.
“With the pandemic causing many to turn to virtual gatherings as their main source of social activity, we’ve learned a lot about what users want out of a party and what we were lacking,” says a Houseparty spokesperson, Julia Roswell-Díaz. “Specifically, people want the ability to escape from other people.”
“In fact, the number one piece of feedback we received was that the application makes it too hard to not talk to anyone,” Roswell-Díaz adds. “So we’re currently beta testing the cat room.”
Early reactions to the new feature have been overwhelmingly positive.
“This has completely changed how I feel about using Houseparty,” said Liz Morris. “At real parties, I used to rely heavily on the ability to step outside, pretend to look at my phone between conversations, or go to the bathroom, and you just can’t do that on Houseparty.”
“I mean, you can still go to the bathroom,” adds Morris. “But everyone in attendance will know that’s what you’re doing and how long you’re gone for, so it’s kind of a different vibe. The cat room has saved me from all of this.”
The addition, which accurately simulates being in a room with a pile of coats on the bed and a cat that’s basically ignoring you but still gives you a reason to be there, is a positive step in making the application work for its users who hate parties but still wish to be in attendance.
“We’re still working out some bugs with the new system,” says Roswell-Díaz. “But in the future we hope to roll out a feature that will allow two overwhelmed people to enter the cat room at a time, to facilitate socially anxious meet-cutes.”
Despite substantial demand, a dog room is not currently within Houseparty’s budget.