Planet Theta is a relatively rare use case for social virtual reality (at least, so far): dating. While many other social VR platforms can be and certainly have already been put to use for dating, the only other specific friend-making/match-making platform I can think of is Cheerio, which I wrote about here (and which I would strongly encourage you to investigate as well).
While Cheerio is already available, Planet Theta has not launched yet. FireFlare Games, the company building Planet Theta, are aiming for a Winter 2021/2022 product launch (on both Oculus and SteamVR). According to the FAQ on their website, Planet Theta will support “Oculus Quest, Oculus Quest 2, HTC Vive, HTC Vive Cosmo, HTC Vive PRo, HTC Vive Pro 2, Valve Index, and many more.”
PLANET THETA is a place to meet new people and create lasting relationships. Meet and match with people you choose. If you like them, you can choose to go on an experience with them. Take a walk through an enchanted forest, go grab a table at a bar, or have coffee over a game of cards. These VR Dating experiences are an opportunity for you to explore each other’s personalities and passions. We are putting human connection at the forefront of dating again. Step foot onto PLANET THETA and join the evolution.
The U.K. newspaper Daily Mail wrote about Planet Theta recently, providing a few more details on how the platform will work:
Planet Theta is the first virtual reality program dedicated to dating, designed for Oculus and Steam VR headsets by their company, FireFlare Games, which is based not in Silicon Valley but Wyoming.
While people can find love with a headset on in apps such as VRChat, Echo VR, Facebook Venues and AltSpaceVR, these aren’t specifically designed for dating, and catfishing or creating deceptive online identities is a constant issue.
“There is nothing that is well regulated and for adults only, and focused on dating…we’re the only game in town,” Mr. Crew [app developer Chris Crew] said.
On Planet Theta people can meet up in virtual nightclubs, parks, beaches and cafes, and they can use the settings to choose meeting others who live in the same area or elsewhere in the world.
And, as the developers note, there is no pandemic on Planet Theta.
First dates only last for five minutes, which Mr. Crew believes is extremely convenient.
“You can go on four or five first dates in the time it takes the average person to just get ready for one in-person date,” he said.
Unusually for a dating app, Planet Theta will encourage its users to create avatars that resemble their real-life appearance and verify that they have done so.
“We are trying to encourage people to look like themselves…what we don’t want is people to enjoy their date looking like a model and then find out they really look like normal people,” Mr. Crew said.
Hmmm, I wonder how they are going to get people to verify that their avatars look like their real-life selves! Will they be asking people to submit selfies to be checked against the avatars they create? There could be some potential problem areas here.
And, as I already said up top, Planet Theta is NOT the only social VR dating/matchmaking app; Cheerio is already up and running. It will interesting to compare and contrast the two platforms once Planet Theta launches.
I would also like to know whether Planet Theta is only for set up for heteronormative dating, or if they will support us LGBTQ folk as well?
Their website shows you a tantalizing glimpse of the wide variety of potential virtual worlds where you and your date can meet, everything from a pool room to a magical forest:
As for avatars, FireFlare Games announced a partnership back in April with Wolf3D, the company behind the Ready Player Me avatar creation and customization system now used by a growing number of metaverse platforms (and which I assume Planet Theta will use as well).
And they’re looking for beta testers! Here’s where you can sign up to be a beta tester.
For further information about this project, visit the Planet Theta website, peruse their official blog, hop into their Discord server, or follow them on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. And (of course) I will be adding Planet Theta to my ever-expanding list of social VR and virtual worlds.
UPDATE Oct. 6th, 2021: I decided to sign up as a beta tester, so I will let you know how it goes!