The platform’s new “meta-dating” experience is the latest effort to bring romance into virtual reality.
Dating.com says its new virtual dating experience “is saturated with the atmosphere of love” / Dating.com
The online dating platform Dating.com marries virtual reality (VR). Today, the company is opening a “meta-dating space for modern singles” in Decentraland, a blockchain-based virtual world that has become a popular portal to the expanding metaverse.
Dating.com promotes its new experience in part by claiming that virtual dating is superior to in-person dating: “Dating in virtual reality via avatars allows people to bond without any of the materialistic, superficial factors or judgments they might have do or experience in the outside physical world,” the company said in a statement. “Singles can form relationships centered on personality, shared values and common interests, without any fear of losing time and money to in-person dates.”
The company is also looking at breaking down geographic barriers offered by virtual reality, an area – in the company’s words – “where distance is no limit to finding a match”. To that end, he will launch his new virtual dating experience with what he calls “the wedding of the year”: three “intercontinental couples”, each of whom met on Dating.com, will be united in a “marriage blockchain”. Marriage certificates, of course, will be NFTs (users will also be able to gift each other NFTs – “the ultimate sign of digital love” – while mingling in virtual space).
Although it still sounds like a foreign concept to many, virtual dating – that is, a form of dating centered on virtual avatars rather than living human beings – is gradually gaining ground in the dominant culture; becoming, if not more popular than in-person dating, at least a more familiar and acceptable concept. In July, HBO released We Met in Virtual Reality, an all-VR documentary that follows the stories of couples who met in VRChat.
Online dating company Match Group announced last year that it planned to launch “Single Town” for its Tinder subsidiary, describing it in a Q3 2021 letter to investors as “a live virtual world… in which singles, represented by their avatars, can move and chat with others via audio in various virtual locations.These plans were recently put on hold following low revenue during the second quarter of this year. VR-based dating Planet Theta is set to launch in November.
Security issues will no doubt become an increasingly pressing topic of conversation in the online dating industry as it continues to move through the metaverse. Over the past few months, virtual sex parties in Roblox and at least one alleged case of sexual assault on Meta’s Horizon Worlds platform have made it clear that some law enforcement action may eventually become necessary in the metaverse – though it’s still not entirely clear how this will be done.
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