Bonfire, Facebook’s group video chat will be shut down sometime this month. Facebook initially launched the Bonfire app in September 2017 in response to the growing popularity of another group video chat application, Houseparty. At the time, Houseparty was gaining momentum owing to its simple group streaming process allowing users to virtually hang out with each other.
After initially launching in Sweden and subsequently in other European markets. It was never made available in North America and from the looks of it, it will never be. The main reason for this could be that Bonfire never generated enough interest and even Houseparty lost momentum soon after. Facebook has now decided to incorporate the feature into Messenger and Instagram instead.
This decision doesn’t come as much of a surprise. Creating a separate app means building a new network from scratch and accumulating a fresh user base. This ignores the audience Facebook has already captured on its native platform and Instagram. By incorporating these features, Facebook will able to maximize the scale and outperform the competition.
Facebook has had a similar experience when competing with Snapchat. After initially failing to compete with Snapchat using dedicated apps like Poke and Slingshot, Facebook launched Instagram stories in 2016. This put pressure back on Snapchat by replicating its tools on an already popular platform. This approach has been way more successful than using dedicated apps which makes one wonder why Bonfire was launched in the first place more than a year after the Snapchat episode.
Regardless, the fact remains that Bonfire was not as popular as Facebook wanted. It is unclear exactly why Facebook is shutting it down or if there are any other ulterior motives for the same. The bottom line is the Bonfire app is going away later this month and not coming back.