It’s been more than two years since the launch of the Epic Games Store, and while it’s certainly been a terrific place to pick up weekly free PC games and has secured an impressive slate of timed exclusives, the social side of the store has remained fairly bare-bones. That’s set to change with a planned social overhaul that Epic is calling the ‘Party System’.
With an eye toward making the Epic Games Store into “a place where you can connect with your friends across platforms,” Epic says the party system will allow players to form parties for voice chat or text, keeping the group together in and out of the games they decide to play. You’ll be able to jump into a party with some friends, make plans together, and then load a game and remain in a group – effectively, it’s planning on adding some of the features that have made Discord a popular choice with gamers. The promise of video also means Epic is going a bit beyond what’s currently available in Steam’s friends list.
In the latest blog post, Epic says your party and all your communications options will be accessible in a dedicated window, where you’ll be able to chat or share highlights. Parties are drop in/drop out, with no specific player acting as host or owner. If someone leaves, everyone else can keep going. That’ll switch to a simplified view once you’re in a game, which shows you each party member’s name and current status.
Epic doesn’t specify when we might see the party system show up – the social overhaul card on the official Trello board is still categorised as being in ‘future development’ without a release date.
However, this month, Epic Games Store users can expect to see player cards that provide more details about friends, an improved search function for finding people you know across multiple platforms, a minimised view for the social panel while browsing the store, and a new ‘Do Not Disturb’ button.
Epic also said it will be disabling the ‘whisper’ function in the Store’s social panel due to lack of use.
Those changes all ought to be making their way into your Epic Games Store client in the coming weeks, while the party system is still a ways off yet.