Match Group details plans for a dating ‘metaverse,’ Tinder’s virtual goods-based economy – TechCrunch
Tinder has already undergone a big revamp with its recent launch of “Explore,” a new section inside the app that will enable more interactive experiences, including the second “Swipe Night” series, real-time chat, interest-based matching and more. Now, parent company Match Group is detailing its longer-term vision for Tinder and Explore, which will expand to include exclusive, shared and live experiences and a virtual goods-based economy, supported by Tinder’s new in-app currency, Tinder Coins. In addition, Match spoke today about its broader plans for a dating “metaverse,” and avatar-based virtual experiences that may later roll out to apps across its portfolio, including Tinder.
In terms of the virtual economy, the first phase of its development includes Tinder Coins, which are already being tested in several markets, including a few countries in Europe, Match said.
Next year, Tinder Coins will become available to global users to make in-app purchases of Tinder’s à la carte products, like Boost and Super Like — tools aimed at helping online daters get more matches. They’ll also be used for new pay-as-you-go products that were previously only available with a subscription, like the See Who Likes You feature. And they’ll be used to incentivize certain behaviors on the app, like encouraging members to verify their profiles or add videos to their bio, for example.
Longer-term, however, Tinder will evolve its app to include virtual goods and a trading ecosystem, which is being planned for 2022 and beyond. This strategic initiative was detailed during Tinder parent company Match Group’s Q3 earnings, including in its Shareholder Letter and on its earnings call with investors on Wednesday morning.
Across its dating app portfolio, Match Group had reported Q3 revenue of $802 million, up 25% year-over-year, and 16.3 million paid subscribers, up 16%. But the company was transparent about the fact that the COVID pandemic has had an impact on its business — lockdowns early in the pandemic had forced a pivot toward virtual experiences. And now, some users are still less inclined to meet in-person, compared with before the pandemic. In addition, citing lingering COVID effects in Asia, Match Group forecasted weaker Q4 growth than expected, with $810-$820 million in revenue instead of the analyst forecast of $838 million.
To address this changing market for online dating, Tinder has leaned into virtual experiences that take place inside the app, instead of only pushing people to get offline for connections. That’s led to the launch of Tinder Explore, and now, it’s driving …….