Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Gamers of ill repute

Via Penny Arcade I learned of a new service called GameCrush, where interested game players can connect with opponents for online gaming of both the traditional computer and console variety and also for implemented boardgames (they have an image of a game of Battleship on their website, seen here).

That sounds tame enough. Who doesn't want to find a willing opponent to play with? But it's not quite so tame. If you sign up for this service, you are actually using it to hire an opponent. Weird, but still not skeezy, right? Some folks might really want to play, and be challenged in the friend department.

But wait - the opponent you hire is called a PlayDate, so there's the idea that you're actually paying for somebody of your desired gender to have a semi-romantic interlude with you. So, it's essentially an escort service. The PlayDates get rated (I can't imagine there's not going to be a PlayDate of the Month, right?), and can command bigger fees if they, uh, perform well. And you get the choice of choosing a "flirty" or "dirty" opponent. Depends on how badly you want to go from player to playa, I guess.

It's a little hard to imagine this working as a business model, although I suppose those toll numbers they advertise on late night TV must attract some kind of customer base. I kind of think you're trying to scratch too many itches at once here. When I try to imagine how pathetic you'd be staring at a monitor, wearing a headset microphone, and playing some weird kind of dirty Battleship with a person you're paying $6.60 per ten minutes to "date," I really can't even get my head around it.

And that says something, because believe me, I know pathetic - pathetic and I go way back.

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