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Dating In A Virtual World: Massively Multiplayer Game Users Find Real-Life Love,Watch Next

AdReady For Something Real? You'll Be Surprised Who You'll Find On eharmony. Over 2 Million People Have Found Love On eharmony AdCompare Top 10 Online Dating Sites - Try the Best Dating Sites Today! When Daniel Blackburn signs onto Second Life as Cody Bolero, an Adonis-like year-old avatar (Blackburn declined to disclose his real age), he sees his online relationships as totally separate from his real relationship. "I have been with my partner for 19 years," the Dallas native told HuffPost Your avatar can then go on a virtual date in a variety of settings, such as a restaurant or a bar. "How do you go from reading a profile to interacting with a person online and eventually in Online dating can be fraught with "firsts," including the first time you meet a person face-to-face. If you're not sure you're ready for that step, would you consider a date in a 3-D virtual world ... read more

Participants use emoticons to trigger avatar responses -- for example, you can have your avatar yawn if your date is being a bore. Avatars can play games, touch hands and even blow a kiss -- if the other person gives permission.

But that's as racy as it gets, Ableman says. She maintains the technology is "extremely woman-friendly," especially when compared with webcams and other technologies that may pose a danger.

And for women, there are issues that come into play like safety and security," she says. If avatars are built into online dating sites, will users come? But Mary, a year-old executive for a large IT consultancy, is more open to the idea. I like the idea," she says, adding that being able to play a game on a virtual date as a way to get to know someone is "not a bad thing. Jake, a year-old writer and editor who has used many of the free services online, is less impressed.

Online dating: The technology behind the attraction. Online dating: Blocking the bad guys. Online dating: Your profile's long, scary shelf life. This story, "Online dating: Avatars tackle the first date for you" was originally published by Computerworld. network world UNITED STATES. Here are the latest Insider stories. More Insider Sign Out. Sign In Register. Sign Out Sign In Register. NEW Insider PRO Learn More.

I like the idea," she says, adding that being able to play a game on a virtual date as a way to get to know someone is "not a bad thing. Jake, a year-old writer and editor who has used many of the free services online, is less impressed. Robert L. Mitchell writes on a wide range of topics, including analytics, emerging technologies, green IT and data centers. computerworld UNITED STATES. Here are the latest Insider stories. More Insider Sign Out. Sign In Register. Sign Out Sign In Register.

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Sean and Meta Jo Riseling first met on the dance floor of a club in July Pushed together by mutual friends, the two instantly hit it off and a few dances plus a couple rounds of body shots later, they went home together. Even though Meta had intended to keep things casual -- she was in the midst of ending a year marriage -- it soon became clear that this was not your average one-night stand.

Over the next few weeks, they would go to amusement parks, take walks along the beach, tour architecturally-interesting houses and stay up through the night talking. In September, they decided to take things to the next level and see each others' faces for the first time. Sean and Meta, 37 and 38, respectively, met as avatars. The Riselings also number among the many people who have found love through massively multiplayer online role-playing games MMORPGs such as Utherverse, World of Warcraft and Second Life.

According to a study, one in three MMORPG players have found themselves attracted to another player. Of the MMORPG players from 45 different countries who were polled, 42 percent of female and 26 percent of male players admitted that they were attracted to other players they met as avatars. But the Riselings and many other couples have found that their avatar attraction extended far beyond the computer screen.

After Meta's daughter Kinzee, 14, and Sean's daughter Josie, 8, finished talking, "we pretty much knew, this was it," Meta said.

They picked a date to meet in October in Oklahoma City, halfway between Meta's home in Ozark, Mo. The next month, Meta and Kinzee moved to Colorado with Sean and Josie.

The twice-divorced single father proposed on Christmas Eve, and the couple married after Meta, who now works at a local junior high school's lunchroom and coaches the cheer squad while maintaining her job as a wedding planner in Utherverse, had finalized her own divorce. Sean and Meta now celebrate two wedding anniversaries.

Decked out in matching jeans, cowboy hats and black boots, they had their real wedding in July in front of Sean's family and a justice of the peace in a small church in Colorado. Their avatar wedding occurred eight months earlier, however. While sitting together on the couch in their physical living room, they recited their vows in front of hundreds of cyberfriends in an extravagant Utherverse ceremony complete with a long dress, hired DJ and elaborate decorations. MMORPGs cater to the needs of a diverse range of users -- "I don't like to call them players," Utherverse co-founder Brian Shuster said.

Avatars can attend and participate in educational classes, political town halls, live comedy shows, DJ performances and entrepreneurial endeavors. They can also engage in commerce. A study released this month by the Visa-owned research group PlaySpan found that almost one third of the general gaming population uses real money in virtual games as game dollars can be bought with real dollars Lindens in Second Life translates to 1 USD plus a 30 cent fee; one Ray in Utherverse roughty translates to 7 cents , although the actual cost shifts based on the world's market prices.

Other gamers make a living in businesses created on MMORPGs. Another selling point, however, is virtual sex. The French watchdog organization Familles de France filed an unsuccessful lawsuit against Linden Lab, the creator of the MMOPPG Second Life, opposing the adult content of the site. The plaintiffs stated accurately, "users can mimic sexual acts, going as far as rape scenes, bondage, zoophilia and scatophilia.

While Shuster and his late business partner, Ray Schwartz, actually created Utherverse in to put a new spin on adult sex sites by creating an MMORPG version, he found an almost immediate demand for weddings and opportunities to foster romance, not just virtual hookups. It would be hard to put a count on the number of couples who meet on our world. Shuster, who uses Utherverse himself, and four MMORPG players interviewed said they believe dating in Utherverse is far more natural than dating through "flat page" dating sites like Match or OkCupid where avatars do not exist.

And some of those I did reach out to rejected me. Or if we met it was always awkward. Do you exchange numbers? Utherverse was always so much more normal. It's like real life -- you can meet in a club or a comedy show.

In , however, Marc Mosel, 42, decided to combine elements of flat dating sites and online and virtual dating. Mosel created AvMatch , a dating profile site similar to Match. com or OkCupid for users' Second Life avatars. The site currently has 20, members from 50 to 60 different countries.

While some members post only their avatars -- a perfected image of an often-idealized self -- others post pictures of their offline selves and make it clear that they see dating on Second Life as equivalent to dating in real life.

Things can get very real very quickly. According to Mosel, what would happen over the course of weeks in real life occurs in days, if not hours, online. But some bemoan the short-lived nature of some virtual relationships. One post on a Second Life forum complained : "My SL husband is cheating on me with a Bisexual Skunk Furry and is asking for a divorce.

And we only got married half an hour ago!! While weddings on MMORPGs can be expensive, depending on their extravagance, it should be noted that divorces come cheap.

Avatars do not have to split half their earnings and possessions in divorce settlements. From users hiding their real-life marriages from their Second Life spouses and their Second Life marriages from their real spouses to people signing in as multiple avatars -- male and female -- to couples finding real love, Mosel has seen it all.

Cliff Connors can attest to that. He has been in over 20 relationships via World of Warcraft, and many of them have evolved beyond the game into the physical world. He describes virtual dating as the ultimate way to meet women. Given the long hours spent together on adventures, which can involve anything from a picnic on the floating rocks of Nagrand to slaying the two-headed, yellow-eyed, flaming-toothed Core Hound , he said, "[B]y the time you get them to hop off Vent" -- a plug-in that allows WoW players to talk to one another -- "they are already sold.

This is not to say I haven't failed. I definitely have. But that is the best part of WoW. With so many users, there has been plenty of opportunity to meet women. When Daniel Blackburn signs onto Second Life as Cody Bolero, an Adonis-like year-old avatar Blackburn declined to disclose his real age , he sees his online relationships as totally separate from his real relationship.

Even though the two live only 90 miles away and have been together for four years, they have yet to meet in person. Real geographical distance does not separate some couples who connect in virtual worlds.

Since MMORPGs cater to an international audience, people often find themselves connected with others who live across the country or even across the world. Heick first joined Utherverse because he was intrigued by the opportunity to participate in a 3D adult community.

He didn't take it seriously at first and took on multiple avatars. Nancy Hime, 26, approached Heick outside of an Utherverse bar, and the two became fast friends and then business partners in a lucrative virtual clothing company. It was his second time on an airplane and first trip out of the US. In the past 14 months, Heick has visited Hime four times, always in Hong Kong. As an Indonesian citizen, she cannot get a visa to visit the United States. After couples get together in real life, they must re-examine how they want to approach their relationships online.

Heick and Hime noticed that after they got together in person, they stopped going on Utherverse apart from when they were working in their Utherverse business. I fell more in love with the person than I ever was with the avatar. While Meta and Sean have decreased their time spent on Utherverse from between 8 and 10 hours a day to 20 hours a week, they still make a point to go online often to interact with friends there and continue their life as a couple in the game.

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One post on a Second Life forum complained : "My SL husband is cheating on me with a Bisexual Skunk Furry and is asking for a divorce. com or OkCupid for users' Second Life avatars. With so many users, there has been plenty of opportunity to meet women. From Our Partners The State of Abortion Epic Entertainment Heart Smart. But hey, we're busy.

sls dating website RedLightSocialCenter. Sean and Meta, 37 and 38, respectively, met as avatars. The firm is working on a new service, to be ready online avatar dating the next few months, that features photo-realistic avatars -- that is, online characters that look like you, or at least like your best photo. And The Winner Of 'America's Got Talent' Is NBA Suspends Phoenix Suns Owner Over Racism, Sexism Findings. Instead, apps would go on 1, online avatar dating, avatars with 1, other avatars—all shop the blink of an eye.

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