Will these couples find true love in virtual reality?
A time tested genre, dating shows have evolved over time with audience tastes and interests. The format has progressed from game show contestant matchmaking to modern day reality-style shows where the cast competes to hookup.
But what happens when you take the blind date show format and teleport it into the future? You get a dating show that takes place entirely in a virtual world.
Condé Nast Entertainment (CNÉ) has launched the first episode of a new show called “Virtually Dating,” a dating show in which two people are set up on a blind date in a headset to interact only in VR.
Launched on Facebook’s Watch platform today, the first episode in this five-part series shows you what it’s like to go on a “Blind Date in Outer Space.” Each person is 3D scanned to create their virtual avatar and strapped into a HTC Vive with sensors to track body movements.
You can watch as couples put on all the hardware, divided by a single wall so they can’t see each other in real life. Then man and woman meet for the first time in a virtual world, in this first episode’s case, outer space.
These aren’t your normal blind date spots like a coffee shop or bar. In VR, you can go on a first date anywhere your imagination will take you. Future episodes include a date set in a post-apocalyptic world full of zombies and a date in which the man and woman travel to exotic ancient locations in a time-traveling virtual reality world.
You can watch the first episode below:
The best part isn’t even that the ever changing dating environments, but how the avatars can also be customized however the show creators want. A trailer for the series shows a man transformed into a dragon, or even a gorilla and a polar bear couple hugging it out on their date.
When it comes to the human 3D avatars, it’s all kinds of awkward. Mostly because the motion captured full body avatar limbs constantly bug out, making feet sometimes face backwards. There’s also the permanent smile on the female dater’s face in this first episode that becomes unsettling the longer you watch.
I would have loved to capture this entire show in mixed reality, which would have put more emphasis on the actual blind date conversation rather than the distraction of the avatar and novelty of virtual limbs. But seeing how these are still early days from some of this tech, its great to see VR in a series that’s not just another first-person wave shooter demo.