Tinder Parent Company Match Group Dials Back Metaverse Dating Plans

Tinder parent company Match Group isn’t quite ready to swipe right on dating in the metaverse.

The company, which also owns OkCupid and Hinge, will scale back its metaverse dating plans after previously talking up the effort back in November. The main issue is that the industry is still trying to define the metaverse, and how it’ll even operate, it said in an earnings report.(Opens in a new window).

Bernard Kim, who took over as Match Group CEO only two months ago, said he still believes the metaverse will be vital to attract users to its dating apps in the future. “However, given uncertainty about the ultimate contours of the metaverse and what will or won’t work, as well as the more challenging operating environment, I’ve instructed the Hyperconnect team to iterate but not invest heavily in metaverse at this time,” he said.

The metaverse promises to be a virtual reality world that supplants the internet. Users will be able to wear a VR headset and enter the metaverse, where they’ll interact with friends and family, almost like they’re in the real world. Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg is so bullish on the idea that he even renamed his company Meta to prioritize its importance.

The only problem? The technology for the metaverse still doesn’t exist, and may take decades to achieve, assuming it’s even possible. But this didn’t stop Match Group’s previous CEO, Shar Dubey, from touting(Opens in a new window) metaverse-based dating in a November earnings call. The company’s South Korea team has been testing audio-enabled virtual avatars as a way for people to date remotely, which could also enable the online dating provider to sell virtual goods.

“It is metaverse experiences coming to life in a way that is transformative to how people meet and get to know each other on a dating or social discovery platform,” Dubey said at the time. “It is super early, but we are seeing some encouraging early signals in terms of engagement among Gen Z in Seoul.”

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The company has been working on the metaverse concept with South Korean firm HyperConnect, which Match Group acquired last year for $1.7 billion. However, new CEO Bernard Kim apparently isn’t ready to invest heavily in the technology quite yet.

Match Group also said it’s pressing pause on its in-app virtual currency Tinder Coins, citing “mixed results” from the early tests. “I love the idea of ​​virtual goods and currency in Tinder, but I believe it hasn’t been approached in a completely logical way,” Kim said in the earnings call. “For instance, in my experience in gaming, demand for virtual goods and collectibles are rolled out first and then you launch the currency to get these items later.”

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