Is Virtual Reality The Next Frontier Of Dating Apps?

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In this era of technology, we are breaking the norms in virtually every possible aspect of our lives. And finding love is no different. In the previous era, people used to meet their other half at the bar, through family, work, church, or other physical events. But with time, things have changed and online dating has become the new norm.

And as more and more people are opting for online dating, technology continues to innovate, offering tools to further and enhance the ways we connect, communicate, and spend quality time.

Can VR, Avatars, and the Metaverse enhance our freedom of expression and give us great digital dates? Here are some of the unique advantages that VR dating has to offer.

Dating as an Avatar

Dating in VR is certainly not based on your natural looks. Natural appearance is off the table, and avatar movements, style, and the sound of one’s voice take the floor. In VR, users have nearly unlimited options for the look of their 3D avatar, which levels the playing field for natural looks and gives people the freedom to look however they want.

How to get a VRBF or VRGF (virtual reality boyfriend/girlfriend)

When it comes to meeting a digital partner, options are quite similar to the real world. You can enter a digital world, such as the campfire in Altspace, or a VRChat world like “The Black Cat,” and strike up a conversation with another avatar nearby. But if that option seems nerve-wracking for you, you can create a profile and swipe on the VR dating app, Nevermet. Once connected, you can plan an amazing VR date together.

Amazing Dates 

Want to enjoy your first date in Paris or show off your amazing ping pong skills to impress your partner? Want to cuddle and watch a movie with your partner thousands of miles away? It’s possible in VR. Digital worlds and experiences are being built every day on popular platforms, Horizon Worlds, VRChat, and through individual app developers on various app stores. Imagine having dating options beyond the limited set of restaurants or experiences in your city or town. Experiences in VR are not limited to the physics or the realities of the real world, so you can even take your partner on a date riding unicorns together on the moon.

No geographical limitations

Popular dating apps today such as Hinge, Tinder, and Bumble generally only match you with people nearby, which makes sense because their users’ end goal is to meet up and have an IRL (in-real-life) date. But with VR Dating, couples share the same dating experience, whether their partner is next door or on the other side of the world. VR dating promises potential partners outside of the tiny fraction of people living in your immediate vicinity.

Avatars – where do they come from?

There is a growing community of avatar creators, who create their own avatars. There are avatars made public, which anybody can use on the platform VRChat. There are third-party avatar creators, like Genies and Ready Player Me who help people customize their own avatar for 3D worlds. There are even marketplaces for everyday creators to buy and sell avatars. Some avatars are familiar characters, like Spongebob Squarepants or Baby Yoda, and others are completely original. It’s caused issues among artists in the community when one artist will create a derivative (or use part of) another’s avatar in their own creation. Just as it’s hard for musicians to claim, “you stole part of my song,” it’s difficult for 3D avatar artists to draw the line between original and copyright infringement, especially because it is such a nascent industry.

Beyond Novelty

When we think about VR Dating, “riding unicorns together” and “walking on the moon” come to mind, but what’s likely is that those experiences will lose their novelty – in other words, riding unicorns is only fun the first couple of times. What’s actually happening consistently with VR Couples today is much more similar to how real-world couples spend quality time. Couples hang out, watch movies, cuddle, people watch, and engage in various communities and social groups. We’re just scratching the surface of digital activities to do together, and some believe that 20 years from now, dating in the metaverse will be so commonplace that people will hardly be able to conceive of a time when it didn’t exist.

Will VR relationships become better than in-real-life relationships?

Elon Musk, in his simulation argument, asserts that given any rate of innovation in technology, one day video games and virtual reality will be indistinguishable from reality. However, according to interviewed VR couples, it seems the vast majority of people dating in VR “graduate” from their VR relationships and want to meet their partner in person…in other words, one could conclude that dating in VR is not as good as dating IRL. From a reproduction perspective, biologically, it’s hard to start a family with someone who you’ve never met in person.

But although people are saying today, “digital dating will never compare to in-person dating,” people were also saying, “meeting someone on the internet? No thanks.” and yet the vast majority of new couples today are meeting online.

What do you think? Will one day, dating people in VR be as fulfilling as dating someone in the real world?