Bumble’s new Night In feature is an attempt to break the ice on virtual dates

Dating app Bumble has announced Night In, a new feature that lets you play games on a virtual date. The feature is available to users in the US and Canada, and the game available at launch is a series of trivia questions you can answer together. However, Bumble says it plans to offer more games and virtual experiences in the “near future.”

Night In is an expansion of Bumble’s existing video dates feature, which it launched back in 2019. The feature has seen a marked increase in demand as a result of the pandemic; Bumble says its voice and video calling features were used 70 percent more after the pandemic started. Hopefully, being able to play a game will act as a nice icebreaker and help mitigate some of the more awkward elements of virtual dates, even if they’ll never match the intimacy of being in the same room as another person.

Bumble’s Night In can be organized using the icon in a chat message. The virtual date can be scheduled ahead of time for between 6PM and midnight on any day of the week. Once scheduled, both participants will be sent reminders and notifications by the app ahead of the date.

Bumble’s video chat features were in place before the pandemic, but other dating apps like Tinder and Hinge have had to rush to catch up over the past year. Although the introduction of these features was undoubtedly influenced by the pandemic, it sounds like they might live on after this current era of social distancing. In a recent survey, Bumble says almost half of respondents in the US said they preferred a first date to be virtual rather than in person.