Tinder scales back its plans for dating in the metaverse

Don't expect to find a Tinder date in the metaverse any time soon. The Vergereports Match Group chief Bernard Kim has asked Tinder's Hyperconnect unit (acquired in 2021) to scale back its metaverse dating plans. In his shareholder letter, Kim said "uncertainty" about success with virtual worlds required that the team "not invest heavily" in the metaverse. Match further blamed the Hyperconnect purchase for a $10 million operating loss in the latest quarter where it made a $210 million operating profit in the same period a year earlier.

The company is also taking "a step back" on plans to introduce its in-app Tinder Coins following questionable test results, Kim said. While he didn't scrap the digital currency outright, he wanted it to "more effectively contribute" to Tinder's bottom line. Any virtual items would have to be a serious contributor to Tinder's next phase of growth, the executive added.

Tinder is facing a leadership upheaval at the same time. CEO Renate Nyborg is leaving the company after joining last September. It's not clear why she's leaving, but Kim said Match was looking for a replacement.

There's little doubt Tinder is dealing with an uncertain future. On top of the Tinder loss, Match forecast a only small growth and said it was still grappling with changes in behavior prompted by the pandemic. While there was a jump in activity in the second half of 2021 as vaccines made it safer to meet others, there hasn't been a similar spike in 2022. The willingness of first-timers to try online dating hasn't returned to pre-pandemic levels, Kim said. The exec hopes more aggressive product rollouts will spur newcomers, such as live video and "alibi" dating services.

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