Could VR Be The Next Big Dating Tool?
If there’s one thing to be said about humans, it’s that we have the amazing capacity to find new ways to connect.
The internet, itself, is a marvel to behold, but the ways that we have integrated this technology into our daily lives is almost beyond belief.
Chief among the connections we’ve made are those of a more…’romantic’ nature.
Okay, maybe just sexual in some cases. It’s said, for example, that about 13% of web searches from 2009 to 2010 were for erotic content.
But we’re not all just in it for the physical loving, and online dating also stands testament to our amazing utilization of new technological resources. In fact, in 2015 eHarmony found that according to their research (so take it with a pinch of salt) online dating is now the second most popular way to meet new potential partners—beaten only by meeting through mutual friends. That’s a whole lot of tech lovers…literally!
Given all of this, us folks over at Kiiroo couldn’t help but wonder: Just how much potential does Virtual Reality (VR for short) have as the next biggest dating tool? Is it the next best thing or simply a digital fling?
What Is Virtual Reality?
Although we’re pretty sure people have heard of virtual reality many people have yet to experience it and so the term itself is worthy of some definition.
In its most basic form, virtual reality is a computer-generated environment in which users can interact with certain situations via 3D simulation which is, for the most part, completely immersive. The best example of VR has to be the recently popular VR headsets—which allow you to shut off from the world around you and become engulfed in the world projected through the goggles.
There are other forms of VR—such as gloves fitted with sensors or even full body suits, but VR headsets have proven to be the most effective, realistic, and popular form of VR technology so far.
For a glimpse into just how immersive VR can be, we highly recommend looking at this Youtube video. Could you save that cat from virtual doom? We’re not sure if we could!
Does VR Have A Place In Online Dating?
The immersive environment of virtual reality has many applications in the world. People can visit galleries, places, and environments that they could never otherwise afford to visit. Someone with disabilities may find that VR provides them with increased accessibility, and the potential for exploration in terms of educational tours, house hunting, and job seeking have already been considered by some publications.
But does VR really have a place in online dating? We say yes!
Given our extreme eagerness to adopt the newest and most effective tech to connect it’s arguably only a matter of time before VR becomes just one more tool in the arsenal of digital dating strategies. If there’s any doubt of this then one only need turn to the adult industry, which has already begun using VR headsets to provide a new type of pornography, where the buyer can enjoy themselves in much more depth (pun definitely intended).
Although porn isn’t directly comparable to relationships, we do tend to reflect our deepest desires and fantasies through pornography, making it a good indicator for just how many people are starting to consider VR as a valid form of tech when it comes to sex and sexuality.
So What Would Virtual Reality Dating Be Like?
The most obvious answer is by making dates possible! Virtual reality could, in theory, allow people from across the globe to meet up in person and enjoy each other’s virtual company. Although texting, IMing, and video chat all have their place in an LDR, there’s no denying that couples often crave more in terms of contact, and VR can provide that additional method to connect when meeting up together just isn’t viable for some reason.
Thinking outside of the box for a moment, VR could also give nervous or socially anxious people the perfect opportunity to practice going out and meeting new people while in the safety of their own home. If the right game was created, then such individuals could essentially practice dating ahead of time and build up the skills and confidence they need to become more self-assured and self-loving.
Looking for some VR date ideas? We got you covered!
5 VIRTUAL DATE IDEAS
This one works well over Facetime or a regular call. Head outside with a blanket and your favorite beverage, and look up at the stars with your partner. Try to identify constellations, look out for shooting stars, or just talk about your day. There’s something undeniably romantic about the vastness of space.
Date in a Box:
Grab a box, and fill it with things that you know your partner will enjoy. Try to pack their perfect evening into this box, from entertainment to little snacks (if permitted), or even a sexy outfit. For example, you could send a DVD, a bag of microwave popcorn, some Raisinettes, and a super comfy pajama set. Perfect night in! Hey, you could always send a KIIROO Cyberdildonic device if you run out of ideas.
Wine & Cheese Night:
It’s fun to get dressed up and do something fancy with your partner, but what about when they’re thousands of miles away? Plan a fancy wine and cheese night by buying the supplies, setting a time, and getting festive. Use your favorite video chat platform or the KIIROO platform.
Alright, so it’s not a traditional date, per say. But exercise is great for your sex life, and it can be a huge turn on to exercise together! You can either do it on Skype, or simply start the same exercise program on the same day, and share your progress.
Video Theme Night:
With billions of videos available on YouTube and Vimeo alone, there’s no shortage of material for a long-distance relationship theme nights! Take turns picking out videos, and see where you end up. Personally, I’m always up for some corgi videos. (If you haven’t seen Corgi Flop, you are missing out.)
A word of caution
However, while we’re optimistic about the future of VR dating we do realize that there are some drawbacks.
Although VR can transport people to places in an instant the experience, at the moment, is not completely immersive, and movement is still vastly restricted. For dates, this means that you could potentially use some of the things that make getting together so enjoyable—such as going on a walk or simply just touching.
VR may also make meeting up instant but it’s not cheap, and a couple in an LDR may currently find that paying for flight tickets to see each other is much more tempting than buying another way to connect digitally.
Speaking of that investment very few people can actually afford to own and run a VR headset at the moment, which does severely limit its potential for meeting compatible individuals. All of these are things to consider.
On top of this, it’s also worth considering just how successful digital dating is to start with. There are studies on either side of this question. Some suggest that those who meet online are more likely to last the test of time, whereas others suggest they are doomed from the start.
The future of VR
VR is only becoming more advanced and more popular as time goes on and, as of now, its benefits seem to vastly outweigh its downsides.
Whether VR dating will help people get lucky in love or leave them in real-world heartbreak is uncertain at the moment. But, as we continue to integrate technology further into our lives it’s hard to imagine a world where VR won’t integrate into the larger dating scene and, personal, we’re very excited to see what results this might bring.
Want to get started by yourself? These apps breakdown those barriers and evoke a sense of greater trust and satisfaction between users. What VR dating does is take this to the next level.
The promising world of VR
When finding out about VR dating, most people are curious. They don’t even know what a VR date is, let alone how to even go on a virtual reality date. But if you’re looking to meet someone on a VR dating app, it’s not going to be easy, at least right now.
The beauty of dating apps like Tinder and OkCupid is that they have a large pool of users. The more users you have, the more selection there is to offer. As of now, VR dating isn’t at that level.
Most people don’t even have the VR devices needed to enjoy a virtual experience. This is why the concept of VR dating hasn’t really kicked off yet.
But that doesn’t mean companies aren’t trying to get VR dating in the mainstream dating community. The app Flirtar was the world’s first augmented reality dating app, but it’s not virtual reality.
Until the market increases and the shift towards VR dating happens, most people will continue to use conventional dating apps like Bumble and Tinder. However, some dating apps are getting a leg up on virtual dating.
The dating app ‘The League’ is an exclusive alternative app for those who are a bit picky when it comes to finding a partner. This app believes their users shouldn’t need to settle when it comes to love and provide a selective pool of people to choose from.
But aside from their motto, ‘The League’ is also adopting VR by hosting VR blind date parties. The VR blind date party, ‘Love Without Limits’, is hosted throughout the United States. It allows people to go on dates with others living across the country via virtual reality.
This gives people a taste of what VR dating can bring to the table when finding love. Even places like Blue Leaf Cafe in Sendai, Japan, are hosting VR events. Rather than people sitting at a cafe, visitors can go on a virtual date with animated Japanese idol Hatsune Miku.
Imagine how different the quarantine experience would have been for single people if they could connect via VR dating apps?
They could go for walks in Paris, stare into space together, and even enjoy a famous rock band concert. The idea of time and space would be redundant as people would connect regardless of location and time zone.
Educational psychologist and co-founder and chief learning officer at Killer Snails, Lindsay Portnoy, said, “The ability to engage users through multiple senses, communicate from the safety of your own space, and the capacity to hear, see, and maybe even feel your partner in a virtual space are some of the many reasons why virtual reality may be the future of dating and love.”
One of the largest dating sites, eHarmony, estimates that by 2040, people will be using full-sensory VR dating to connect with others. By full-sensory, they mean being able to transfer touch, smell, and even taste simulations digitally.
If you’re looking to go on a virtual reality date, as of now, VR dates are happening in very selective places. But, without a doubt, as VR enters the mainstream dating world and VR devices become more affordable, it’s only a matter of time until more people jump on board, wanting to try out this new way to connect with others.
Follow Emmeline on Twitter