Why would a man bother hiring an escort when he can get a girly-nerd to play Halo for a tenth of the price? A new social gaming and chat site called GameCrush combines sexy ladies, video games and web cams, a combination which can be yours for a mere 60 cents per hour. If he “meets” his new game-loving gal pal in the GameCrush section called “The Edge,” though, anything goes.I’m not hating on a dating site based around video games. That idea is just as valid — or as stupid, depending on your POV — as dating sites based around other interests, like music, books or kinky sex. In fact, I know a single 30-year-old man who is obsessed with World of Warcraft and could probably meet a woman, finally, with a site like that.
GameCrush isn’t a dating site, though. It bills itself as a hybrid social gaming site/chat site. But the crux is that “Players” purchase credits to buy the “PlayDates” time and they can choose which “PlayDate” to purchase by exploring a gallery of options, similar to an online dating site. In a section of the site called “Become a GameCrush Playdate,” potential playdates are told they can earn “up to $20 an hour or more” and “set your own schedule and hours … you’re the boss!” And that’s fine, to a degree: everyone knows what they are getting into beforehand. But judging by the profiles up on the site, it’s reasonable to assume women comprise the majority of the “Playdates” who earn money playing games (and whatever else happens) online. Gawker.com joked it’s sort of like hiring a “girlfriend” online.
Isn’t a transactional relationship (i.e. money changes hands) kind of exploitative of socially awkward, shy dudes — like the one I know — who just can’t find a girl to game with in real life? Is paying a girl to play games with you online just as innocuous as hiring an escort? Or does it veer into a gray area where playtime and maybe pleasure are combined? I’m not against sex work (escorts, stripping, prostitution, etc.). I just feel for the dudes who find a girl to game with, but in the back of their mind, they know she’s being paid.