Online match-making platform Dating.com wants to help users find love in the metaverse. Last September the site unveiled a “meta-dating experience for modern singles” in the blockchain-based metaverse Decentraland, and eight months on, a fresh series of virtual events have been announced.
Dating in another dimension
The latest news means daters searching for their soulmate can create their own avatars and strike up conversation in a hyper-realistic digital environment. The experience got underway last month, when a two-hour window saw users dial in from a range of far-flung locations to interact via avatars with would-be partners.
That particular meta-dating experience saw daters participate in gamified interactions and icebreakers, including movie and TV trivia. Dating.com has already hosted three virtual weddings in the metaverse.
According to a press release, metaverse dating as envisioned by Dating.com lets users “discover social experiences that will leave a lasting impression, and participate in innovative parties, events and meetups as well as personalized dates.”
“We are excited to introduce this cutting-edge new feature to our platform as we help bring dating to another dimension,” said Maria Sullivan, Vice President and Dating Expert of Dating.com.
“Virtual dating in the metaverse offers a whole new level of intimacy and connection that simply can’t be replicated in traditional online dating.
“In the Web3 world, distance is truly no boundary to finding a match.”
The platform’s Chief Strategy Officer KJ Dhaliwal, meanwhile, said the unique virtual experiences pioneered by the team are “both innovative and authentic,” adding they could be “a game-changer in the dating industry.”
The question is whether and to what extent metaverse dating can compete with in-person dating or its established online equivalent. Based on Sullivan’s comments, it appears that outperforming the latter will be the short-term goal.
A concept gaining ground
Tinder’s parent company, Match Group, was previously said to be considering investing in metaverse dating and planned to introduce an app for this purpose in Q3, 2022. However, the firm pressed pause on the so-called Tinderverse after a disappointing earnings result.
Other VR dating apps such as Nevermet, Planet Theta and Flirtual have come to the fore in recent years, typically pitched at members of Generation Z, i.e. individuals born between the mid-to-late 1990s and the early 2010s. Dating.com, of course, has more resources at its disposal than these apps: its parent company Social Discovery Group owns over 40 online dating satellite sites, with a global audience of 250 million + registered users from over 40 countries.
If anyone can make metaverse dating work at scale, it’s probably Social Discovery Group. And perhaps the notion isn’t so outlandish, as the concept of virtual reality dating is gradually gaining ground. Last July, HBO released a documentary, We Met in Virtual Reality, filmed entirely in VR which followed the stories of couples who became romantically entwined in the VRChat platform.
Data from a survey from by Dating.com itself, meanwhile, suggests a third of singles are open to dating in virtual reality spaces.