Tinder swipes left on the metaverse! Dating app pulls back from virtual reality meet-ups and parts ways with CEO of one year after reporting $10 million second quarter loss – which it puts down to $1.7B buyout of VR tech start-up and dwindling users
- Tinder is pulling back from its efforts to expand into the metaverse
- The online dating company recently reported an operating loss of $10 million
- The metaverse, pushed by Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg, can include virtual reality and augmented reality
- ‘Uncertainty’ over what the much-hyped metaverse will actually turn out to be means caution is necessary, according to Match Group CEO Bernard Kim
Dating app Tinder has a message for the metaverse: it’s not you, it’s me.
The company is reducing its commitment to moving into the much-touted virtual reality realm as it reels from an operating loss of $10 million in the most recent financial quarter.
In February, 2021 Match Group bought South Korean company Hyperconnect for over $1.7 billion. At the time, top executives hyped the purchase as one that would see Match Group’s various dating apps slide into DMs of the future metaverse thanks to Hyperconnect’s live video and chat technologies.
The metaverse, which has been highly pushed by Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg and other Silicon Valley moguls, can include virtual reality and also augmented reality that would combine aspects of the physical and digital worlds.
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Tinder is reducing its commitment to moving into the virtual reality realm as it reels from an operating loss of $10 million in the most recent financial quarter
Tinder CEO Renate Nyborg is leaving the company just a year after taking the job. Pictured above is her resignation note from LinkedIn
Bernard Kim, CEO of Tinder’s parent company, Match Group, praised how that metaverse tech has been incorporated into some of the company’s non-Tinder apps, but also said ‘uncertainty’ over what the much-hyped metaverse will actually turn out to be means caution is necessary.
‘I believe a metaverse dating experience is important to capture the next generation of users, and Hyperconnect has been innovating in this area,’ Kim wrote in a Tuesday shareholder’s note.
‘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.
What is the metaverse?
The ‘metaverse’ is a set of virtual spaces where you can game, work and communicate with others who aren’t in the same physical space as you.
Meta founder Mark Zuckerberg has been a leading voice on the concept, which is seen as the future of the internet and would blur the lines between the physical and digital.
‘You’ll be able to hang out with friends, work, play, learn, shop, create and more,’ Meta has said.
‘It’s not necessarily about spending more time online — it’s about making the time you do spend online more meaningful.’
While Meta is leading the charge with the metaverse, it explained that it isn’t a single product one company can build.
‘Just like the internet, the metaverse exists whether Facebook is there or not,’ it added.
‘And it won’t be built overnight. Many of these products will only be fully realized in the next 10-15 years.’
‘We’ll continue to evaluate this space carefully, and we will consider moving forward at the appropriate time when we have more clarity on the overall opportunity and feel we have a service that is well-positioned to succeed.’
The financial loss is particularly surprising as Kim boasted of strong growth in revenue and user base across Match’s various platforms, which include Match.com, Hinge, Plentyoffish and OkCupid.
Still, attracting new users during the COVID-19 pandemic was a challenge as Kim said engagement remains higher from pre-existing users rather than new ones.
The pricy purchase of Hyperconnect dragged the company down further, despite supposedly helping Match enter the supposedly lucrative Asia-Pacific market.
‘There’s no question that buying Hyperconnect while the world was shut down due to COVID slowed integration and our ability to work together to drive their growth,’ Kim acknowledged.
Just a few paragraphs later, Kim announced that at least one match was not, ultimately, made in heaven. Tinder CEO Renate Nyborg is leaving the company just a year after taking the chief executive job.
‘I have loved every moment of the last two years, working with an I.N.C.R.E.D.I.B.L.E team on the magic of human connection,’ Nyborg said in a post on LinkedIn.
Until a replacement is found, Kim said he and a team of executives will oversee day-to-day operations of the popular dating app, which boasts over 10 million paying users.
‘I have loved … working with an I.N.C.R.E.D.I.B.L.E team on the magic of human connection,’ Renate Nyborg, seen above, said in a post on LinkedIn
Match’s reluctance to fully engage with the metaverse is just the latest indication that not all is merry in the virtual realm.
Back in October, tech mogul Mark Zuckerberg announced his company Facebook would henceforth be known as Meta.
In a lengthy video, he outlined his goal evolving the social media platform into a full-fledged virtual world that would exist alongside and overlap with the physical one – eventually being a space for up to one billion people.
But just last week, that grand vision hit a major snag. In an earnings call, Zuckerberg said there could be cuts to staff after revenue dropped for the first time in the company’s history and was projected to fall further in the next financial quarter.