Dating is getting hotter in the Metaverse, Per Reddit exclusive data

It’s spring and romance is blossoming in the metaverse, according to new Reddit user data. And there are great opportunities for brands of all kinds – from interior design posters to subscription food services – to join the action.

Fans are eager to get involved in the metaverse in order to meet new people, according to exclusive Reddit data. And, more than two years into the pandemic, they’re more willing than ever to flirt — in these thriving virtual spaces. In fact, over the past six months, Reddit has seen a 249% increase in mentions of “Encounters” within VR interest groups.

So what are the reasons for this trend? And what does it say about the future of relations – and the shape of the future metaverses?

1. Cosplay Made Easy (Emotion, Star Wars Style)

With social communication and travel at IRL subject to the evolving restrictions related to Covid, consumers are beginning to turn to virtual reality (VR) and emerging virtual ecosystems to immerse themselves in new experiences. In fact, VR headset sales are up 92% year over year.

Sur Reddit, cette tendance a été particulièrement prononcée – les Redditors sont 125% plus susceptibles que le grand public de vouloir s’engager dans le métaverse et rencontrer de nouvelles personnes et sont 42% plus susceptibles de préligne tempér’s pass Personally. Redditors are just as likely to be interested in “joining the metaverse” as the general public – and this is reflected in their activity on the social site: views of the r/VRchat subreddit screen rose 193% between March 2020 and March 2022.

And they are more interested than ever in meeting potential romantic partners in virtual spaces. Not only can users meet people who live all over the world, but with new virtual spaces and VR capabilities, users can engage in new activities and invest deeper in their interests and passions.

“It’s not just you and me [might be] Star Wars fans. We can literally throw ourselves into the Star Wars universe and… represent that passion in real time in a way that doesn’t require me to travel the world and buy a bunch of things, dress up or disguise as I would otherwise,” says Rob Gaige, Director of Partner Insights. On Reddit.” We can do this in a more relaxing way. You generate a more honest connection on a passion level – compared to sites in [face-to-face] The dating world, where it’s a little more superficial.

2. Reality can’t be hidden forever (let’s meet at the local dinner)

Long-distance relationships, often virtual, are rarely set up to be successful — in fact, the average long-distance relationship lasts less than five months. It is clear that even if netizens find love in new places, they cannot escape from the real world forever. Couples need to experience shared physical intimacy, quality time, and real communication to ensure they have a healthy and successful partnership.

But what Gaige and the Reddit team discovered is that for couples who have found love in the metaverse, these virtual spaces and experiences will continue to play a role in their real-life relationships. “We’ve already seen indications of this type of hybrid relationship, where just because you meet in the Metaverse and are now in real life doesn’t mean you’re leaving the Metaverse behind,” Gaige explains. “It’s not like having a Tinder app where you delete the app afterwards [you’ve found a relationship]. “

Instead, he expects the metaverse to remain an integral part of that IRL romance. “We may be together physically, but we are going back to this world and we have a date now [Star Wars’] tattoo. He sees this hybrid relationship as an afterthought to what has just begun.

And it may help these couples stay happy in the long term. Nearly two-thirds (64%) of married couples with a common interest consider this a reason for their marriage to be successful.

3. Different types of relationships (“It’s all right” is the new norm)

The metaverse is also ready to form different types of relationships. Gaige suggests that dual dating will become more flexible, as couples do not need to live near them to meet. At the same time, in a low-risk virtual environment, he expects it will allow users “a safe environment to open up less traditional relationship structures – things like developing role-playing and promoting non-monogamous relationships”. For this reason, it is believed that Generation Z – a highly fluid and gendered generation – would be particularly interested in dating metaverses.

And as romance takes off in the metaverse, so do other types of interactions. Users are increasingly turning to virtual reality and emerging technology possibilities not only to connect with distant friends and romantic partners, but even to memorialize loved ones who have passed away. Interest in harnessing new technologies to spend time with the deceased may be on the rise as Reddit user behavior reflects an increase in support group activity – From March 2020 to March 2022, the platform saw a 201% increase in r/griefsupport screen views.

The idea is new, but Gayge and her team are keeping a close eye on how it develops. “Can we create non-playable characters that exist as past relics of people you know?” Says. “It’s something we’ve seen over and over again in culture – concerts of holograms of deceased people. [artists] Pretty much every piece of science fiction. But it’s now a real possibility, as people think about coding and interacting with these characters.

He says he was surprised by the low demand for interactions with celebrities and the increased demand for catching missing loved ones. “I thought maybe it’d be more about celebrities — like, this is my chance to hang out with Beyoncé. Not that. It’s like, ‘I really want my grandmother — and it would be cool if I could program my grandmother so that my son or daughter could meet their grandmother.'”

Implications for Marketers (Hey, there’s money to be made here)

The explosion of interest in the metaverse relationships presents a whole host of valuable opportunities for brands.

Brands can also go deeper into the cash cow for fans to drive new types of engagement. They can host virtual activities or events to help users meet other fans who share their interests. Nintendo fans can tour Peach’s Castle together, while Potterheads play the virtual quidditch.

Another major way brands can find value in the space is by taking advantage of the new crypto business economy. As the world already reflects on the high-fashion industry’s foray into NFTs, there are endless opportunities for brands to help outfit avatars and allow users to introduce themselves to mixers. Brands can offer a range of options for clothing, accessories, accessories, makeup, body modifications, or even cars, bikes, or motorcycles.

But the business implications of token-based interactions run much deeper. “[On a date in the metaverse] I am not bound by any restaurants that are within my budget, or even close to it, or the type of food [we] I might like it, because I create an immersive experience,” says Gaige. As a result, he says, NFTs and tokens will act as vehicles to create unique dating experiences.” We’ll see more of, like, “Hey, I made a special experience.” [for you]…I will buy a special song to play to show you how much I care about you. This is a great opportunity for brands.

The Reddit team believes that some industries may be in a better position to succeed early on. Luxury and fashion are clearly early adopters, and Gaige is drawing attention to the booming Metaverse real estate market (Metaverse real estate sales topped $500 million in 2021 and, according to a recent report from CNBC, could double this year). “[Companies are] Reconstruction of famous buildings, famous plots [in the metaverse]. In some ways, your dream home should be in a virtual space, and you wouldn’t necessarily need it in a real space,” says Gaig.

Along the same lines, he predicts that designer brands will see new opportunities multiply. “I see Hermann Millers in the world and they have to jump right in and develop a mid-century modern spirit in this space. Any designer – Kelly Wearstler – if I was a brand manager for these guys, that’s what I would do for them.”

Will Cady, director of KarmaLab, the creative strategy arm of Reddit, predicts that subscription food services like Blue Apron may see new opportunities as distant couples try to connect in new ways.

In the end, the space is so nascent that the possibilities are nearly endless, Cady says. “These are fairly open areas — there are new customs and rituals that can be formed that haven’t yet taken shape. For example, I had a wedding in the Metaverse, and this was a whole new moment. There were about 200 people online and about 10 people in IRL. It’s a thing. It didn’t exist before.What are the business opportunities for a wedding in Metaverse thing [offers a] Good experience for all guests? “

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