If you haven’t heard the term Metaverse tossed around in conversation recently, you probably have not spent a lot of time online. While Metaverse may sound like another buzzword, it aims to label the next evolution of the internet into a virtual reality haven where people interact and communicate through the use of avatars. If you’ve ever dreamed of dating in the metaverse, you may be quite interested in a new VR dating app, Flirtual.
What is Flirtual?
As we’ve noted, the purpose of Flirtual is to allow users to have a VR dating experience. One thing that is a bit surprising is that Flirtual seems to act quite like any other dating app when you first sign up. You create your username, write a bit about yourself, and answer the typical dating app questions. However, instead of photos of yourself, you upload photos of your avatar instead.
When seeking a match in Flirtual, you find yourself swiping through other profiles of avatars. These avatars usually reflect a person’s personality or ideal self rather than their actual self. It is one of the ways where VR meeting apps promote escapism, a place where someone can be anyone they truly wish they were.
However, there are a few ways in which Flirtual does strive to create its own niche in the dating market. This dating virtual world also allows users to join a variety of social and speed dating style events that will allow them to meet other users. In a way, the use of avatars can provide more of a stress-free dating experience where you focus on getting to know someone rather than putting so much pressure on initial appearances.
How Does This VR Dating Relate to Real-World Relationships?
If the whole Flirtual experience sounds a bit odd to you, the reality is that it did to me as well. However, as I read more about it, I learned that this type of experience has existed for quite some time. In fact, there are a variety of communities where people have established virtual relationships that have later led to real-world ones with one another. This is seen a lot in the gaming community through titles such as World of Warcraft and Second Life.
In fact, if you listen to the pitch from the Flirtual developers, they will note that a major intent of this dating virtual world is the hope that relationships do carry over to real life. One of the creators, Kyle Farewell, even met his current partner in a VR dating setting. In an era of constant interconnection through various devices, the thought of meeting a partner in virtual reality is perhaps not as foreign as it initially sounds.
While swiping through avatars does seem a bit unusual to me, I have to admit that there is part of me that sees it as a great way for users to be creative and express their true selves. I mean, what is more creative than making an entire virtual identity? Users adrift in a sea of “normal” dating apps may find Flirtual to be a happy reprieve, something that could potentially make dating fun again.
Will VR Dating Be a Hit?
To be honest the thought of VR dating does sound like it could be quite fun for the right people. Personally, I have a difficult enough time finding a good partner in the real world much less cultivating one in the Metaverse. While I don’t think a dating virtual world is in my future, I can see the allure of Flirtual for many people.
However, Flirtual does perhaps amplify a number of the concerns present on any dating app, particularly if the end goal is moving from VR dating to real-life dating. While the use of avatars can be a fun way of personal expression for some, it also makes it much easier to be deceptive and for bad actors to get people to fall for dating scams. Going on a virtual date with an emo fox may be fun until you stumble into the same old online dating frustrations.
Additionally, while I adore a story of a couple meeting on their favorite online game and developing a strong relationship, these stories likely occur out of two people meeting as part of a hobby they love. Since Flirtual is exclusively for VR dating, I’m just not sure that it will have more success than other dating sites. Ultimately, if the thought of dating in a world ruled by avatars sounds fun, by all means, give Flirtual a go. Just be careful to continue to use caution in evaluating potential partners and potential scams just as you would with any other dating app.