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Would you swap your real love life for an interactive video game?

With no time for real boyfriends, it has emerged recently that young Japanese women are swapping romance novels for their video game equivalent, living out fantasy scenarios using their computers and smartphones.

Would you swap your real love life for an interactive video game?

The video games, which appear to be a cross between Mills & Boon novels and manga role play, involve going through the development of a relationship, with different stages, adventures and decisions based on real life scenarios. Their target audience is single women in their 30s with demanding jobs and a lack of free time. The company that makes these games is currently trying to branch out into China and the US, creating localised versions of the games to suit local tastes.

Time will tell whether these games will become popular in the west (currently the download rate in the US is a 10th of what it is in Japan), but any video game that fulfils a need that ought to be fulfilled by means of human interaction is somewhat problematic to say the least.

Online dating used to be accused of being a poor substitute for real dating, but, of course, online dating is real dating, with real people, only the method of the initial meeting is virtual. Even then, it’s not impossible for some people to get so hooked up on the feeling of meeting people in the virtual space that they can forget the point is to go out and meet people in person.

Swap that for a virtual person who doesn’t exist and you will never meet and you may have a real problem or technology actually keeping people locked up in a permanent state of loneliness, instead of allowing them to reach out and meet likeminded people.
 

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