It was a perfect first date. It started with a trip to an amusement park nestled in an alpine valley, where colorful roller coasters wound through the trees. Then the couple played a round of miniature golf before topping the night off with a shared bucket of popcorn at a movie theater. And it all took place in the metaverse. That’s how Samantha M., a 26-year-old from Washington, D.C., met her boyfriend Cayden, who lives in Utah.
The pair connected on a dating app called Nevermet, which helps singles find dates in the world of virtual reality. Since their first rendezvous in March, the couple has connected at least once a week in VRChat, a popular metaverse world, sometimes spending entire days virtually together. The two have yet to meet in person, but they interact outside of the metaverse too, mostly through texting, phone calls and video chats on Discord.
“It’s the closest you can get to being with someone without being with them physically,” Samantha says. “It gives you a chance to meet others and learn more about them personally and on the inside.”
Virtual-reality dating is on the rise, with companies like Nevermet developing new ways to connect people in the Metaverse. But the concept hasn’t been smooth sailing for Match Group and Tinder, its industry-leading app. After 10 months of effort, Match pulled the plug on Tinder’s attempt to build a metaverse dating space. It comes at a tumultuous time for Match, as the company has had to scrap other recent initiatives — including the creation of an in-app currency — as revenue growth slackened once a burst of post-lockdown romance dissipated.