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What Is Metaverse Dating? And Could It Mean the End of the Bad Date?

Scenario: You’re primping for a first date with someone you met online. Yet, instead of spending all day mentally prepping an outfit (or hours perfecting your smokey eye), the only thing you’re worried about is the battery life of your laptop. Welcome to the wonderful world of metaverse dating. 

At this point, you’re probably wondering, what even *is* the metaverse? It’s not as scary as it sounds. Below, a breakdown of what this whole metaverse thing is and where the future of online dating is headed.  

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What Even Is The Metaverse?

Without getting too technical, the term ‘metaverse’ describes any virtual reality (VR) that can be accessed through a browser or headset. And if you *really* want to understand how a metaverse works, we suggest you grab yourself some popcorn and stream Steven Spielberg’s Ready Player One. In the film (based on the Ernest Cline bestseller), the characters embark on a scavenger hunt within the Oasis, a VR world that’s eerily similar to Mark Zuckerberg’s vision for Meta (formally Facebook). “You can think about the metaverse as an embodied internet, where instead of just viewing content—you are in it,” says Zuckerberg in an interview with The Verge. “It’s going to be accessible across all of our different computing platforms; VR and AR, but also PC, and also mobile devices and game consoles…You’ll be able to do all kinds of different work, there’ll be new jobs [and] new forms of entertainment. Whether it’s gaming or incredibly complex scavenger hunts like [the one in Ready Player One], or more and more enjoyable ways of doing fitness or concerts, or getting together at [comedy shows].” 

The TL;DR? Metaverse describes any kind of digital or VR-related interaction. It can be anything from updating your avatar’s fall wardrobe in a game, to doing happy hour with friends at a virtual bar. So long as there’s a screen (or headset) in front of you—and you’re not physically at a bar or a shopping mall—you’re officially interacting with, and within, the metaverse. 

Why Are People Dating In The Metaverse?

OK, so you understand how the metaverse works (kinda?). But why are people so keen on VR dating? Experts at Dovey Dates, a VR dating platform for long-distance relationships, explain: “Currently, on social media platforms, you are only a username or perhaps a picture. In the metaverse, [however] you are represented by a personalized avatar that is able to speak, move and even perform diverse operations.” Indeed, the beauty of VR is that it allows avatars to walk, talk and mimic your gestures in real-time (so you can read someone’s body language—even if they live in Sweden). “The main [goal] of the metaverse [dating] platforms is to create a practical environment where all users feel safe and at ease…In the near future, dating apps will compete to create wholesome experiences [that go beyond] the usual ‘look, rate and swipe’ approach of present online dating.” 

To that end, there’s another benefit to metaverse dating (aside from your avatar’s everlasting fluffy hair): It removes the pressure from IRL interactions. Instead of worrying about how you look (or whether you have creamed spinach in your teeth), you can focus on really getting to know a person. Not to mention that the physical separation adds a layer of protection—whether it’s from a sneaky catfish or the guarantee that you’ll wake up in your own bed the next morning (because here’s looking at you, three-date rule). Take it from Natalie Arroyo Camacho, lifestyle writer for wellandgood.com, who decided to go on a date with someone she’d already met IRL: “Once I got past my preconceived notions of awkwardness, my date and I were able to have equal parts banter and getting-to-know-each-other conversations.” What’s more, she mentions how an all-in-one VR headset made the whole experience feel more intimate (and less nerve-wracking). “Because the Meta Quest 2 allows you to see someone’s avatar and hear their real voice, it gave me the sense that I was on an actual date…Being able to playfully make fun of my date (because I beat them at mini golf, thank you very much) and have them snappily retort back made dating in the metaverse feel similar to what a real-life date would be like. In fact, my date and I had so much fun playing mini golf, that two days after our first date, we agreed to ‘meet’ again for another round.”

What Platforms/Gear Are People Using For Metaverse Dating?

As we mentioned above, Meta Quest 2 is one of the most popular (and innovative) platforms when it comes to metaverse interactions. The software features 350 immersive activities you can do with a partner—from games and fitness to multiplayer and entertainment (which even includes exclusive blockbuster releases). However, it’s worth mentioning that most platforms seem to be more geared towards activities you can do with a partner, rather than meeting a partner online. While apps like Flirtual are planning to create an all-in-one dating platform where you can meet and virtually date someone (without having to change out of your sweats), the metaverse is still somewhat of a novelty in terms of mainstream online dating. 

So Are Bad Dates a Thing of The Past?

Let’s call a spade a spade: You Have to Kiss a Lot of Frogs (at least before you can find your proverbial prince). Whether you’re playing mini golf IRL or with a virtual headset, we can’t promise you won’t be bored to tears by the second hole-in-one. Yet, the one thing metaverse dating can deliver is a more intentional mindset—which is a post-pandemic trend that doesn’t seem to be going anywhere. You won’t have to worry about how you look, or whether they like your new perfume; it’s all about compatibility and conversation. But, while more meaningful, care-free conversations may be ahead, there’s no guarantee that your headset won’t “mysteriously stop working” 30 minutes in. After all, people are still people (and no amount of comfy sweats can detract from his ick-worthy pick-up lines). 

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