The world of online dating has its share of criticisms: People hate the superficiality of mindless swipes, the trolls who catfish to no end, and the general exhaustion of talking to a stream of strangers.
There’s something natural and comforting about meeting someone at a party, or in the park, or in an elevator. Like fate drew you together, rather than a rigid algorithm operating on servers many miles away. There is also a greater sense of privacy, as typing anything on a digital platform opens up the possibility of data recording.
But that doesn’t eliminate all the positives – like the chance to get to know someone in the safety of your home, and the larger pool of candidates to choose from.
The powerful aspects of dating in the real world comes down to two main things. One is the bonding that comes from shared experiences. You have that funny story about losing your cap at the zoo, or that crazy fun time at 2am at the nearby park. You can fill out the gaps of awkwardness with the scenery around you. “What’s that guy up to with his dog?” “Oh wow that helicopter is close isn’t it?” and so on.
The second benefit is physical intimacy. A kiss, hug, or just a general cuddle (or something else entirely).
That’s where VR dating comes in. You get the safety of staying in your own home, while having the chance to go on adventures with a potential partner. When I’m on a date, it’s often at a restaurant, park, or movie theater. What if we could go exploring an exotic jungle, or take a stroll along the moon instead?
With eventual haptic feedback you could virtually hug your partner goodnight. This goes a long way towards feeling closer with your date.
Similar to how certain areas aren’t necessarily built for dating but are still used as dating spots, VR software that isn’t necessarily built around the idea of dating can still be used. VTime XR is great as a way for friends and strangers to chat in various settings including on a private jet or a rooftop in Paris. VRLFP (Virtual Reality Looking For Partner) is an actual VR dating site. You browse, match and then meet up in VR.
Finally, companies like Disney are developing various haptic feedback technologies which could be used for VR immersion products in the future. Online dating is here to stay, so making the virtual experience more natural is the next step in its evolution.