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.
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.