Dating has long been equated to a game. We only have to look at the lexicon of 'playing the field', 'hitting' on someone, 'scoring' or a date being a good 'catch', right through to the title of the pick-up artist's bible, 'The Game'.
But no more has dating been trivialised as simply a game than in the growing world of dating apps. Users swipe through potential suitors until they 'win' a 'match'. There's a certain habit of collecting matches, and the successful adrenaline hit of someone liking you back that is more often associated with gambling.
But the gamification of modern dating is not the future, and it's not healthy. There is a human being behind every dating app profile; when you are able to remove that person by a swat of the hand - physically throwing them away - you transform a human being into a commodity.
This addictive picking up and disposing of potential matches will soon start to change the way we interact with people and potential love interests in real life. It's an issue of respect and the way we view people we don't know yet. Gamifying anything which involves real people is always a slippery slope towards treating them like characters or prizes to be won.
Therefore, dating apps should look to use the nature of gaming and the way that mobile users are so captivated by game-like features to improve the way we engage with others online.
People hugely engage with games. People ought to engage more with the people they are making connections with. As online dating continues to boom, users are increasingly being offered a huge choice of potential love interests, and keeping up with the options is both a blessing and a curse.
Dating apps are now starting to use games to help people connect with the people they may get to know. 'Guess who' games like Happn's CrushTime are designed to help users think more about the people behind the profile.
Gamification for good is something being used across other sectors such as charitable donations, and as such ought to form the basis for inspiration and inform the way human-centred technology utilises the full, constructive potential of games.
The dating industry has a responsibility to create positive attitudes amongst its users, and a further desire to help prevent connections getting lost amongst the noise. Using the technical aspects of gaming to bring mobile users back into the real life, and to help them be more considerate of their choices means that the new dating game is, in fact, not really a game at all.