Epic Games has announced a series of updates coming to the Epic Games Store to help players have a better social experience while using the PC storefront.
In a blog post, Epic said its grand vision for the store is to create a place “where you can connect with your friends across platforms, effortlessly jump into parties with voice chat, and play games together without missing a beat.”
One of the first new social features that’s coming to the store is a Party system. Players can group together and speak with one another via voice and text chat using the new Party system. Users will be able to drop in and out whenever they like and they can speak with friends while playing a game or browsing the store.
To support this, there will be an “active party window” for your Party that pops up when you are connected with others. “In this window you’ll have a host of options with your friends and teammates to communicate and play. Share your latest highlights to convince your friends to play a game with you or kick off a match with only a few friends in the group while being able to continue talking to your entire Party,” Epic said.
No one person will “own” the party, Epic said. As such, if a friend needs to go AFK, the party group will stay in place. “Inside the window, each party member will have control of their own audio and video options. You can also invite other players and lock the party,” Epic said.
Epic is also releasing a feature called “In-Game Party Representation.” This is a simplified version of the Party window that you can see while in a game–showing who is in the party and their status. This window can be toggled off.
Epic did not say when these new social features are coming, however.
What is coming soon are a number of significant updates to the social experience on the Epic Games Store. Features like player cards, improved search, minimized view, do no disturb, and whispers are all coming sometime in March.
Coming To Epic Games Store This Month:
Descriptions written by Epic
Player Cards are coming! Clicking on a friend in the Social Panel will pull up their Player Card and give you multiple new options. Viewing the card will allow the player to take important actions to manage their friendship and see mutual friends. In the future, you’ll also be able to join their party, invite them to a new party, and even customize your Player Card.
The new Epic Games Store Social Panel comes equipped with a more efficient search tool. We’ve improved the search query and the results will now feature mutual friend count, the ability to search across platforms, and better matching overall. If you have a pending game invite, you’ll be able to click “Join” and the game will launch and auto-join your friend.
While you’re browsing the Epic Games Store, we wanted users to be able to interact with an accessible, minimized view of the Social Panel without having to open an entirely separate window. Here you’ll be able to see notifications such as game invites and friend requests.
Do Not Disturb
With the addition of extra social features, we understand that you might not want to be interrupted while you’re in the launcher or a game! The “Do Not Disturb” button will make sure that you’re not notified of game invites or friend requests while playing.
Whispers haven’t been wildely used, so this feature is going into the vault for now, but we’re hopeful to bring it back later with improved functionality for messaging your friends.