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Playing Games on A Dating App

Compiled/partly written by Melvin Durai Email Compiled/partly written by Melvin Durai
March 2023
Playing Games on A Dating App

If you’re looking for a long-term relationship, you probably don’t want your dates to play games with you. But finding a date itself has become quite a game. Dating apps are increasingly adopting game-like features to keep users on their platforms, as Sangeeta Singh-Kurtz, co-host of the podcast “Land of the Giants: Dating Games,” recently told NPR’s “Marketplace.”

The dating apps try to give users rewards, such as points and coins, when they swipe and match with someone. Singh-Kurtz once interviewed an anthropologist who compared it to the rewards people get from slot machines.

“So swipers, like slot machine users, get suspended in what she called the zone of possibility, where you think you’re going to get closure,” Singh-Kurtz said. “You think you’re going to get your money, you think you’re going to get your romantic partner. But the way it actually works is that it does not have a resolution. And if you think about the economic proposition of these companies, they don’t really want it to have a resolution, you know? They’ll lose their user base.”

A user may want to find a long-term relationship through the app, but companies such as Tinder and Hinge really want the user to have a long-term relationship with their app. “There is a gulf, at least that we’ve found in our reporting, between a company’s objectives and users’ objectives,” Singh-Kurtz said.

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Compiled and partly written by Indian humorist MELVIN DURAI, author of the novel Bala Takes the Plunge.

[Comments? Contributions? We would love to hear from you about Chai Time. If you have contributions, please email us at melvin@melvindurai.com. We welcome jokes, quotes, online clips, and more.]

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