Augmented reality is going to change the way people relate to sex and dating. It has tomost new technologies find some useful application in those arenas. But no matter how AR ends up altering people’s love lives, surely no one expected the shift to be heralded by a rogue Charizard.
Less than a week ago, it would’ve been easy to assume a young person determinedly flicking at their smartphone screen in a bar or coffee shop was swiping through potential dates on Tinder. This week, it’s far more likely they’re playing Pokmon Go, the mobile game that is currently taking over the US and is already ensconced on more Americans’ Android phones than Tinder managed to find its way on to in four years. Yes, Pokmon Go is now the single person’s pastime of choice, and it’s more than just a way to catch ’em allit’s a way to find a catch.
“It’s perfect as a dating game,” says Karen North, professor of digital social media at the USC Annenberg School. “You meet someone with a common interest, engage in that activity together, and get a new challenge for tomorrow and the next day.”
The IRL Appeal of AR
So far, Eevees and a Flareon have already led to at least one meet-cute. “I caught a few Pidgeys and one Eevee, nothing special,” Reddit user UnityTreeofSavior wrote shortly after the mobile game launched. “I was about to start walking back home then some girl asked, ‘hey, are you playing Pokmon Go too?’ Then we just talked about Pokmon.” The girl may have had a far superior Pokmon Go collection, but UnityTreeofSavior snagged something even better than a Venusaur: a date.
Despite being a highly modern way to meet someone, finding a mate through Pokmon Go actually has a lot more in common with more old-school, in-person methods of cruising than those provided by Tinder or Hinge. Sure, it lives on smartphones like those apps, but since its AR gameplay requires you to be outside, Go is far more social than swiping in your living room. It’s not the same as joining softball league or going to a singles mixer, but it does provide a better way to start talking to someone than complimenting their shirt or asking their astrological sign.
“If youre out and you see somebody playing, it’s like at a bar: it gives you a shared social situation,” says North. “Plus, it breaks through the awkwardness, by providing a natural pick-up line.”
She’s right and at least one enterprising player has tried a Pokmon-inspired opener so far.
I just got asked on a Pokmon catching date, men take note
— hex girl (@JESSlC_NT) July 11, 2016
The Dating Game
Whether or not Pokmon Go eclipses Tinder as the best way to find a mate in the long term will depend entirely on what kind of luck people like @JESSlC_NT and UnityTreeofSavior have. But should Tinder lose territory to Go, even temporarily, it only has itself to blame. The dating app, which lets you swipe your way to a match rather than pouring over online personality profiles, appealed to the young, smartphone-equipped set by turning dating into sport. It’s only logical that they would then turn a game into a new way to meet people.
“Tinder has been able to lure in younger daters because people play Tinder before they date on Tinder,” says North. “Theyre lured into using the app by playing the game.”
Of course, most users stop using Tinder after entering into a relationship. Pokmon Go players, however, still have plenty to do in the game after their meet-cutesomething that, if current players’ relationships are any indication, could prove problematic to their burgeoning love.
— bennettboy_ (@bennettboy_) July 9, 2016
My boyfriend downloaded pokemon go so I guess I won't be seeing him ever again pic.twitter.com/fDQ223Dq2b
— kasey holcomb (@kasermeister) July 8, 2016
My bf decided to 'go for a walk' so now I'm just another #PokemonGO widow sitting home alone on Sunday night.
— Veronica Sullivan (@veronicaahhh) July 10, 2016
— Rio Harris (@riochantel) July 7, 2016
I think I just saw a couple break up over Pokemon go but I was too busy catching a horsea
— Case God (@HaseColsen) July 8, 2016
True Life: I Lost My Boyfriend to Pokemon Go.
— Troy Young (@ItsTroyYoung) July 11, 2016
Yes, losing your partner to Pokmon Go is hardprobably even harder than finding them there. But hey, chances are you could meet your new Pika-boo the next time you hit the gym.
Originally found athttp://www.wired.com/