Virtual Reality in the Dating Scene
If you would tell someone that courting was a part of the dating world back in the day, they would think you’re crazy. Today, it’s all about having the ability to connect to as many people as possible with a swipe of a finger.
And even though the traditionalist inside of us sheds a tear, modern dating has brought more like-minded people together from all around the world.
Currently, the saying, “there’s plenty of fish in the sea,” has never been truer. Although online dating has been popular over the past few years, in 2020, there’s been a massive boom (thanks, corona).
But it doesn't stop with apps like Tinder or OkCupid - these apps are just the beginning of what’s to come for online dating.
The Missing Link of Online Dating
Online dating, though successful for many, has been an unpleasant experience for some others. People end up disappointed when their date looks nothing like their photos. Or when they act differently from how they presented themselves via chat.
No one said online dating was easy. There’s a chance that the person you’re falling for is not who they appear to be. That’s a huge risk to take when trying to find a connection and companionship. But this is where virtual reality can change the dating world.
Most online dating apps are limited and allow you only to text with the person you’re interested in. But with VR dating, you’re able to change the way you experience social interaction with someone online.
Instead of texting, you can have an immersive, intense, and personal experience with someone you’ve never met. The essence is that this person is “next to you,” instead of just seeing text on a screen.
We’re all humans. And if there’s one thing humans like, it’s to see another person's face. This explains why programs such as Skype and Facetime are so successful.
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 World 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.
Natasha Ivanovic is an intimacy, dating, and relationship writer best known for her writings on Kiiroo, LovePanky, Post Pravda, and more. She's the creator and author of her short stories on TheLonelySerb. She completed her first degree in Criminology and continued and finished her Masters in Investigative Psychology, but then decided to follow her true passion of writing.