Toronto Metropolitan University
Wright, Lexi - MRP.pdf (1.3 MB)

Let’s Play a Love Game: Applying Gamification Components to Online Dating

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posted on 2024-02-07, 17:34 authored by Lexi Wright

The use of digital games and gamification has demonstrable potential to impact aspects of many professional industries, however it also can impact our personal lives, particularly in affecting how we date.

This paper examines the use of gamification in dating apps and explores how apps, like Tinder, Bumble, and Hinge provide a game like user experience. It reviews existing literature on the use of games in the dating app sector, seeking to consolidate findings to address research questions regarding dating app perception and identify key dating apps that utilize components of gamification. This study also compares existing dating apps with newly developed dating app, Heartcade. This case study will be used to examine the gamification components.

This study will also examine how the mechanics, dynamics, and aesthetics (MDA framework) applies to various dating apps and how their UX design elements impact the user perception and gamify the user experience. It also discusses the theory of procedural rhetoric and the persuasive power of dating apps. This MRP argues that the dominant rhetoric intended by a team of dating app designers is subject to manipulation through user choice.

This case study paves the way for future investigation into dating apps and their function as a game. The findings consolidate evidence showing how dating apps that utilize gamification can have impacts in multiple areas of relationship building and finding meaningful relationships. They also highlight the challenges and pitfalls of applying gamification principles and discuss the implications of development and evaluation methodologies on the success of a game-based solution.

A dating app prototype is linked that applies the principles of gamification as discovered from my research.





  • Master of Arts


  • Digital Media

Granting Institution

Ryerson University

LAC Thesis Type

  • MRP

Thesis Advisor

Robert Clapperton