Let’s just take a moment and realize just how huge online dating has become in the past decade. I bet you a coffee and a bagel that you know at least one couple that first met online in one form or another. And don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with that. Anything that brings people together and helps them communicate is purely awesome. But where it will go from here?
Why is online dating so popular?
Meeting someone online is a lot like a blind date. It might go really well or extremely bad, so you need to know that you can escape a potentially unpleasant situation. Fortunately, online dating gives you the opportunity to test the field before going all in. You start with a harmless exchange of messages, then start to chat more and later exchange some pictures. You might move to phone calls and even video calls if you are comfortable with that and then you set up a meeting.
In a virtual environment you can effectively screen pretenders or potential soul mates through some light chat and a few online dates. This gives you the necessary comfort to take the next step and set up a real-life meeting.
You’re also able to reach more people, get out of your comfort zone without being actually uncomfortable and to select people with the same declared interests as yours.
Ok, but where does virtual reality come into the picture?
In virtual reality dating sites you interact with others through avatars. You can create your own avatar in any way you want and explore a virtual world, socialize with others and even attend events. You are creating a whole new “you” and that is fine to begin with, but that might also serve as a big disadvantage on the long term.
When you are interacting with others through the means of an avatar, a completely fictional persona, you tend to change the way you interact with people. You are protected and you feel free to say things that you might not say in real-life or act in a way that it’s not really like you.
That might be all fine from your perspective, but there’s a certain pitfall there. People you are interacting with are also pretending, hiding behind a fictional avatar. They are bolder, more courageous even funnier than they might be in real life. And is this something that you truly desire if you are really looking for a partner? Or you want to see the real face of a potential love mate?
What if you could go to the next level and add a bit of sincerity to a pretender whom you recently met and would like to know better before deciding, or not, to meet in person. Technology has advanced so much that now it is possible to create a different kind of avatar, called a humanoid, which looks exactly like you and mimics your face gestures.
The humanoid offers the same protection that an avatar can. You are free to interact online with someone and you get the same benefits: safety, piece of mind, boldness and a certain freedom. But unlike and avatar you can get a real feel of what the other person is really like. You can see how others look like, how they smile and how they react to your jokes.
How about a virtual reality date?
You can go to a concert, a virtual condo or café, visit a mall or gallery and act exactly like on a normal date. You can hear your companion and be heard and this adds a level of realism and honesty while still being in the “let me get to know you better” stage.
It might sound a bit confusing but you quickly get into the role. And when you decide to meet the person you interacted with it will be much easier and more natural than just meeting someone you exchanged a few texts with.
Technology is bound to make meeting a potential partner easier. Facebook, Second Life, Twitter and specialized online dating websites like eHarmony, Match.com or OkCupid are responsible for millions of new couples every year. They manage to do a great job even without offering a more personal way of communicating, something a little less intrusive than a live video call. But it will certainly be nice to have an alternative and to be able to date before actually dating to protect your heart from disappointment and find an easier way to identify a match for you.
Virtual reality and affordable VR headsets will surely influence online dating and not only that. Let’s see what the future holds in store for us both in love and technology.