Virtual Companion

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Definition

A virtual companion is a phrase used to describe an interactive program accessible through web or mobile that serves as a companion, partner or lonliness agient with a remote or virtual persona. Most commonly this relationship exists as a boyfriend or girlfriend for the user in question. A virtual boyfriend or girlfriend program often has a variety of different reactions or prompts with which they interact and support the user.

Prompts from virtual companions range from entertaining and complimenting users, asking how users are doing or providing sexual enticement. These virtual companions are quite popular in Japan, as the culture is often one that is harried and does not have the time to sustain or seek out a traditional real-life relationship. Virtual companions often provide a guaranteed positive experience with a minimal amount of potential error and no rejection for the user. "Given the sometimes rocky road to love in the real world, many users find virtual partners even more desirable than the flesh-and-blood variety".[1] Lonely individuals may often find that a virtual companion provides just the right amount of attention that they need without the drawbacks that real relationships might have such as nagging, judging, or jealousy. A virtual boyfriend, for instance, will have attention always available to his user, or a virtual girlfriend will ensure her user that he is strong, attractive, and of good character.

Gameplay

"Bandai Network's Mail de Koi Shite (or Falling in Love by Mail) is targeted towards men who are given the choice of seven virtual women, including a school teacher and a nurse". After the player chooses a companion, he enters into a "three-month email courtship" by which "the user must seduce his cyber-love by scoring as many points as possible by finding out as much as he can about his "girlfriend" - apparently not always an easy task".[2] At the end of three months, the verdict of "I like you" or "We can still be friends" is given to the user.

AR Code Girlfriends

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yCCx7zANsGE

Space

"If you’re worried about not having enough space to house your virtual boyfriend or girlfriend, then we can assure you that you will not have the need to make any extra space available. Virtual boyfriends and girlfriends simply live on your computer or even on your cell phone. This gives you the opportunity to take him or her with you wherever you go. You can also think of this as having a girlfriend or boyfriend on demand, as you are in charge of making him or her come to life".[3]

Use Cases

"If you’re thinking that you don’t have any use for a virtual boyfriend or girlfriend, then you may want to consider a few things. With everyone feeling some type of stress, there is nothing wrong with getting a “pick me up” a few times a day. Often times, just hearing that you look nice or that your outfit is pretty can do wonders for your self esteem. Virtual boyfriends and girlfriends are by no means meant to replace real world relationships, but hearing something nice about yourself can put a smile on your face and help get you through your day".[4]

Related Reading

References

  1. Virtual love seduces Japan Tuesday, 13 February, 2001, 19:41 GMT.
  2. Virtual love seduces Japan Tuesday, 13 February, 2001, 19:41 GMT.
  3. Virtual Boyfriend or Girlfriend Anyone Posted By: The ITM Guys On: 2010-01-27 14:53:56.
  4. Virtual Boyfriend or Girlfriend Anyone Posted By: The ITM Guys On: 2010-01-27 14:53:56.