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“It offers me hope that whatever I’m virtually doing, or subconsciously doing, will eventually manifest into my real life,” say Storm.“I won’t be on a date and say, ‘You remind me of my virtual boyfriend,’ but it’s healthy to practice a consistent relationship, even if it’s virtual,” Storm adds.“It’s sort of like a practice-makes-perfect type of thing.”© 2017 Condé Nast. Use of this site constitutes acceptance of our User Agreement (effective 1/2/2014) and Privacy Policy (Effective 1/2/2014).Whatever the plot, the aim is the same: to create an emotional connection.“When I read their stories, I feel like they are real,” Mook says of her digital suitors.Many of them say the appeal of virtual dating games comes down to control: Dating in the real world may be a bittersweet experience at best, but in a virtual universe, the player is master.“[Women] dream of a guy who is handsome, controlling, and unreasonably in love with [them],” says Marcos Daniel Arroyo, a software engineer at Cheritz who has built a career on understanding what women want from virtual relationships.The games allow women to date the kind of men they are attracted to, but without any of the hassle or heartbreak.Her sim is handsome and career-driven, with a well-rounded personality.In short, he’s exactly the type of man she hopes to end up with.

He often receives emails, he says, from female users complaining that their sims have mistreated them.“It’s like I understand them.” last year found that nearly 40 percent of single Japanese millennials were not interested in romantic relationships, describing them as “bothersome.” And in the United States, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported in 2014 that there were now more single people in the country than married ones.For millennial women, in other words, the status quo is undergoing a seismic shift, one that engineers at gaming companies are busy mapping.Voltage estimates that a quarter of its 40 million players are overseas.The company has already adapted 33 games for the North American market, and three years ago, it opened a San Francisco office. Where Nameless allows the gamer to play matchmaker, My Virtual Boyfriend, an American app, takes a more direct approach, providing a wide selection of male sims that peer out and speak to the player in a pseudo-relationship setup.

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