Virtual reality brings a whole new facet to socialising, meeting people, and even dating online. Social media is undoubtedly the most significant success of the internet.
After all, who do you know that isn’t on Facebook? Your social life contains a considerable proportion of online activity, so why not virtual reality dating?
So how does virtual reality dating work? And is it already available?
Let’s have a look.
The Rise of Online Dating
Remember the first social platforms? Friends Reunited? And Facebook!? From here “connecting” with friends old and new proliferated online.
And, not just by the kind of lonely heart brave enough to post a classified advert in the local newspaper (go back a decade or two here).
Dating apps and platforms are standard nowadays, accepted ways to find and meet your soulmate. You just have to remember that care should be taken, not everyone is honest in their online profiles, and there are dangers of meeting a stranger in person, who you met online.
If you haven’t tried online dating, read up on the dangers, there are some horrifying stories out there. Some people have committed to complete relationships online, only to find their new “partner” is not who they expected.
There are also many funny stories and many, many happy marriages and relationships have grown from meeting a new friend online, or online on dating websites or applications.
Apparently, 53% of people lie on their dating profile, and 22% get their friends to create their profiles!
Warnings Over, Let’s Look at The Success of Online Dating
From 1995, Match.com is taking the credit for the conception of more than one million babies and nearly 100,000 marriages. The same company actually owns Match.com as Tinder.
Founded in 2012 Tinder has had 11 billion matches – though this is not the figure for successful relationships!
Has Virtual Reality Dating Already Arrived?
There are forecasted to be 171 million virtual reality users by 2018, an increase from 4.1 million in 2015; there is no denying the sector is proliferating, and along with it, the types of application and content.
Virtual Reality Social Networking
So, Facebook is not in virtual reality yet, as Facebook. But, they do own Oculus Rift and along with that Oculus Rooms. They launched Facebook Spaces in April 2017 and bought AltSpace just last month.
In virtual reality, you can create an avatar, and instead of meeting as an icon, username or flat photograph, you can meet in fully immersive virtual spaces, rooms or locations.
Your avatar can have the same amount of individual activity, freedom and expressiveness as in the real world. You can handshake, fist-bump and bar hop!
With apps like vTime, you can meet people, on trains, around campfires and even sit in a satellite orbiting the earth. In AltSpace lots of people can interact in one room, also watch comedy shows together.
Due to the level of interactivity virtual reality apps create, and the lack of real-world rules, there have been reports of harassment.
Any good app should include ways to report lousy behaviour from users. People still need personal space and of course respect, and own safety, even in virtual reality.
Condé Nast Entertainment and Facebook just launched a show on Facebook Watch called “Virtually Dating”.
The show sets people up on blind dates in virtual worlds including space, a zombie world and ancient Egypt. At the end of the date, couples are asked if they want to meet again in the real world.
Virtual Reality Dating Apps
Elitist dating app The League, which takes profile information from LinkedIn, not Facebook like other apps, and individually vets signups so only the approved ones get through, is reportedly developing a virtual reality version. Though there is no sign of launch yet.
FlirtAR – Augmented Reality “Matching”
FlirtAR is a mobile app which uses augmented reality to match you to other singletons. It uses facial recognition to help you find other users nearby, and match your profiles.
“FlirtAR will use facial recognition, geolocation, and augmented reality to show user dating profiles and begin conversations with potential dates in the real world and in real time”
On the more amusing side of virtual reality dating…
For the HTC Vive, Oculus Rift and Gear VR, not a dating app, but one that offers immersive dating lessons!
Developed by Cerevrum Inc and already criticised for being sexist. The app is targeted at men to help them date women, including how to approach women and what to say on a date.
Dating a Virtual Character?
Yes, it’s possible. A Japanese app Ruptly allows men to marry their favourite anime character, with witnesses and a “real” kiss.
The app concept is based on the anime video game ‘Niitzuma Lovely x Cation’ where users can have a relationship with a virtual girlfriend.
Tinder virtual reality headset for two!
Adding some humour to virtual reality dating, Tinder unveiled a “virtual reality” dating headset at the International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) early this year for:
“singletons who want to get connected in the real world. Tinder VR (LOL)” turned out to be a tube where daters could stare at each other through the “headset.”
Virtual Reality Dating – Can You Try It Today?
While we are not seeing any real credible, dedicated virtual reality dating applications on the market right now, it’s sure there will be some soon.
For the moment, if you want to start virtual reality dating, you’re going to have to look for singletons on the virtual reality social platforms that are out there.
As with any dating, concentrate on making friends and meeting people and let natural opportunities for “something more” to develop.
Remember that virtual reality feels very much like real life, so apply the same rules and expect the same standards to be used.
And if you’re not ready for virtual reality dating yet, read about other uses of virtual reality in entertainment industry.