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Epic Games shuts down Houseparty, opens up Radiohead exhibition


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Cast your minds back to the early days of the Covid-19 pandemic, as countries started to lock down and people flocked to video calls for work and social lives alike. Zoom and Houseparty – the latter being the video-chat app owned by Fortnite publisher Epic Games – seemed to be the big winners from that trend.

Yet while Zoom has gone from strength to strength, Houseparty is shutting down in October, with Epic Games saying that its team will be “creating new ways to have meaningful and authentic social interactions at metaverse scale across the Epic Games family” instead. Which is a hint at interesting things to come from the company.

Talking about meaningful metaverse interactions, though, another announcement yesterday involving Epic Games is directly relevant to our industry. It’s a partnership with Radiohead, although – alas! – not for a Creep-era big-hair Thom Yorke skin in Fortnite, or a dance emote based on the ‘Lotus Flower’ video. Both of which would be amazing.

No, Epic Games is working on an “upside-down digital/analog universe” called Kid A Mnesia Exhibition, to be released for PS5 consoles, PCs and Macs this November alongside the band’s reissues of their ‘Kid A’ and ‘Amnesiac’ albums.

It’s a virtual experience based on the band’s instantly recognisable artwork from Yorke and visual artist Stanley Donwood, with audio design from longtime producer Nigel Godrich. The teaser trailer doesn’t reveal much, and there are no details yet on whether it will be a free or paid download.

Still, it’s a curveball partnership for a company whose flagship Fortnite concerts have been with Marshmello, Travis Scott and Ariana Grande. If Kid A Mnesia Exhibition is a hit, it may encourage a wider range of artists to explore these kinds of projects, whether with companies like Epic Games or independently.

Stuart Dredge

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