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  • 23Feb

    Do you want to be my PlayDate? Undercover at GameCrush

    This article contains some sexual themes.

    Day One

    All Player 1 wanted was a smile. So I gave it to him.

    “When you don’t smile, it looks like you hate me.”

    I didn’t hate him by any means (the young man in question was actually quite a nice fellow, based on our limited interactions), but to put it simply, I wasn’t used to this webcam thing. I wasn’t used to someone watching me while I made decisions in Battleship or Checkers. It’s all new. So, I’m sorry if my face was a little lost in thought – it’s because I was thinking. I don’t like to lose, darn it.

    Welcome to The Arena on GameCrush.com.

    GameCrush is a place where paying customers can request to play a few games online with the girl – or guy – of their dreams. It’s pretty simple – buy credits, spend credits on time with a PlayDate. Everyone’s in control on both ends, really. If you don’t like the way the session is going, end it and spend your credits on another fine specimen (of which there are plenty – who wouldn’t want to play games for cash, am I right?).

    I classify myself as a player in The Arena. Basically, I exist to kick your butt and look pretty doing it. I purposefully chose not to put myself in the category labeled “The Edge” because…well, I don’t know what would be expected of me there. At least in the category I chose, there’s no implied nudity.

    Back to my game. I beat Player 1 pretty handily at Battleship, then a quick round of Connect Four. He beat me at our second round of Connect Four. (I did my best to smile the entire time.)

    “Want to play something else?” he asked me. I agreed, then ended the session.

    I wouldn’t speak to Player 1 again that night.

    That’s the nature of the Crush-O-Matic. On one end, you pick a Flash game and whether you’d like to play with a male or a female, then it automatically does the rest. You’re never guaranteed to see the same person twice (though with the small number of people on the site, it’ll probably happen). This interaction, which never goes beyond the small selection of Flash games on the site, is free. What it does do is give you a window to advertise yourself. A little nudge, if you will. “This is random, but if you want a guaranteed game with me, you can buy some credits and pick me.” (Of course, most guys seem to just choose the free option instead of actually dishing out any money, but is that a surprise?)

    The iconic Mario coin collection noise means that someone else has been randomly matched to me in the Crush-O-Matic. I click “accept.” Why not?

    Player 2 immediately apologized for not having a camera. “It’s okay,” I said. “I’m not surprised – no guy I’ve talked to has had a camera.”

    He disconnects. I think my frank response was a bit of a turn-off. Oops. But it’s true – everyone I’ve connected to on Crush-O-Matic hasn’t had a camera. I think they’re more interested in surveying the goods than they are actually buying any. I have to wonder – where are those guys they claim have spent over $10,000 on the service? Because I totally haven’t run into any of them yet.

    Ah, screw it. I flipped my zone over to “The Edge.” I guess we’ll see what happens. (Spoiler: Nothing happened and I logged out. I think I need to change my profile picture to reflect my brand-new flaming-red hair, but until what I’ve uploaded gets approved, I’m a silly old blonde. That’s no fun.)

    Day Two

    Since yesterday, I’ve spruced up my profile quite a bit. Spicier language, racier pictures, engaging a little more with everyone who views my profile. You know what’s neat? When you look at my profile, I can tell if you’ve got money. With one glance, I can find out if you’re worth my time – worth my textual teasing and a possible free five minutes.

    Today, if Player 3 had any cash, I think he would’ve been forking it over. (Yeah, I’m good.) I regaled him with incredibly-embellished stories of my college youth (which was actually two years ago) and he finally said, “I wish I wasn’t broke.” I knew he was. I used him for practice, I’ll admit it. I’m sitting here in my pajamas with my hair a mess and no makeup on. I’m not going on camera like that, even if you do pay me.

    But thanks for the practice.

    Actually, wait. He just agreed to a chat minus camera on my end. I know where this is going. We meet up, and then…well, to quote Elaine from Seinfeld:

    He took it out.

    I’m really too shocked to do anything. So, he does his thing. For 45 minutes. No one else was talking to me, so I let him, for lack of a better verb, use me.

    So this is the interesting thing – the whole time I’ve been doing this, I’ve been waiting for that fateful moment where someone asks me to do something risqué on camera. I never once thought the guy would make the first move there. When my husband comes home – yes, he knows I’m doing this, and no, Player 3 does not know I’m married – I start getting creepy questions. Am I getting lucky tonight? What would it be like if we were all in a room together? I’m uncomfortable, and I’m naïve for even letting the chat get this far, but I answer anyway. He’s abused the system (GameCrush does not monitor what goes on in one-on-one sessions, so they’re essentially ignoring what their Players are expecting of their PlayDate independent contractors), and I’ve let him. No more of that.

    I’m only feeling dirty when I want to from now on.

    Days Three & Four

    In order to increase my clientele, I’ve decided to take some naughtier photos (minus nudity, since GameCrush doesn’t allow nudity in profile pictures). So, just like every stereotypical picture I hate, I’ve put on some lingerie and tossed games on my bed. At the very least, I might get some attention out of it. However, it doesn’t take long to get some attention anyway. Player 4 likes redheads. We start out by talking about WoW. We then move on to an actual PlayDate session, though because he’s at work…well, it really is just playing. Kind of refreshing, especially after last night.

    The next day, Player 4 came back, and he specifically requested me for another session. Before he went to work, so that we could chat in the privacy of his home. This conversation was far less innocent.

    And Here’s Where I Start Thinking Too Hard

    I haven’t been on the site in a while. It might have been over a week, I’m not sure. School and life on the outside really catches up to you after a while. I’m only on tonight because I’ve gotten messages from Player 4 (he misses talking to me, aww) and a new person, who is, naturally, Player 5. Several people have also added me to their lists of favorite PlayDates, which provides a nice confidence boost.

    Player 5 is way into me. A creepy amount, actually. I’ve already gotten tons of messages about my supposed hotness level and how he wishes I was online during the day because he works at night. More specific questions that get a little dirty. It’s really just about what I’ve come to expect from every third guy. He’s not so into talking – he’s more into whether or not I will take my clothes off.

    More life on the outside passes. I sign on to the site, just wondering if someone will come along to talk to me. Maybe my estimate of “every third guy” is wrong. In a bad way. I immediately get this:

    Player 6: would u be like the photos of u on the bottom if we played?
    Me: Which ones? :)
    Player 6: on the bed :)
    Me: Since I just got home from school and can’t be buggered to put on lingerie…no
    Player 6: oh

    He disconnected, then came back a couple of minutes later and begged me to take my top off.

    What I’m starting to wonder is how GameCrush prices compare with other “live cam” sites. Sure, they cater to a niche market, but the same people in that market really just want to see a girl without any clothes on, no matter what she’s doing. So I did a little research and it looks like the going rate for the services being offered is about a dollar a minute. Sometimes more, sometimes less. In GameCrush’s case, it’s way less – 60 cents a minute. So guys are looking for the same kinds of services that a specifically explicit site would offer – at a bargain, it turns out.

    Once upon a time, there was equity, however. And there is actually a reason for the reduced price. Granted, I can’t just ring up the CEO and ask questions (Hey, I’m undercover!) so I’ll go with my next best resource: The GameCrush newsletter.

    Originally, we intended to go back to charging Players $1 per minute in gaming sessions.  Feedback and surveys have shown that the 60-cents per minute rate was preferred by both Players and PlayDates to maximize game play.  It lowers the barrier to getting started, encourages longer gaming sessions, and can contribute to higher tipping.  So overall, you should be making more!

    The key word here, I think, is “should.” I have to think, though, if they’re marketing to gamers (who, going purely by the stereotype they’re trying to profit from, would never actually be able to date a girl in real life, so they “need” this kind of service) that some sort of desperation would have to come into play.

    And it has. Take Player 7, for instance. He started talking to me one afternoon and told me that he got to the site via an advertisement. What did that ad say, pray tell? “Date a gamer girl.”

    Yeah, they’re advertising as a gamer dating site. Which, if you haven’t caught on by now – GameCrush is not for dating. Yes, we’re called PlayDates, but you shouldn’t be expecting to take us out to dinner any time soon. And yet someone in charge of advertising has chosen to give people false hope. Does this hope actually do anything? It might get a few people to pull out their wallets, sure, but people who are looking for real human interaction aren’t going to settle for pay-for-play. No matter how much you want them to. Plus, games are expensive. He can either buy a game that could result in a good 40 hours of gameplay, or buy 100 minutes of time with a girl on camera.

    I know which one I’d choose, in any case.

    Or at least I know which one I’d choose if I’d actually gotten paid yet. GameCrush requires a minimum account balance of $50 before you can receive a single paycheck (and, since they don’t mess with any of that messy “tax” stuff, you’ve got to take care of that part on your own). How many people never make it there?

    The going rate on a GameCrush PlayDate is 60 cents per minute, as I mentioned before. Out of that, the PlayDate sees 60 percent, or 36 cents per minute. GameCrush keeps the other 24 cents. For some people, they keep a lot more, though. If you never make that first $50 (or any subsequent $50), you’re not going to see your money, and you’ve essentially been working for free.

    As an aside – GameCrush likes to make a big deal out of that 60 percent. They say that other cam sites (oh hey, we’re being lumped in with those now) charge participants $3 or $4 a minute and those performers only make 25 percent. Obviously, since we get 60 percent, we’re doing so much better, right? I don’t think so. At least 25 percent of $4 is still a dollar. Makes 36 cents sound like a pretty bad deal. (The dollar-a-minute total cost I mentioned earlier was for a few sites that were amateur material. What does that make GameCrush, then, when they’re charging 60 percent of that? I’d prefer to argue that we’re performing even more specialized services.)

    So, how long does it take before you get a check? 140 minutes of paid on-camera time. That doesn’t sound like a lot, but factor in how long you’ll need to spend promoting yourself, playing free games, and chatting with Players and you’re looking at a lot of hours of work. Or, at least that’s how it was shaping up for me. (Based on the extremely high number of messages in the “Getting Started as a PlayDate” forum topic, I don’t think I’m alone. There are more messages there than there are in the rest of the forums combined.)

    The Frag Dolls: A classic example of "hot" gamers, or, the "pretties."

    However, I’m not traditionally “hot” by any means. (Really only in that “You’ve got a pretty face, but…” sense. Also, I hate when people say that.) How does it work out for someone who is? Well, I decided to do my best to find out. I poked around the GameCrush community itself and specifically tried to avoid those girls who have done their best to become living mouthpieces for the service. Despite how nice those women are (and I really do mean that – the girls I’ve talked to previously are wonderful, charming women), they have gotten at least a little bit of special treatment. Special trips, special perks at conventions. They’re obviously going to gush about the service, and they do – on a regular basis. (Meanwhile, on the other hand, I can’t even get a response when I e-mail people directly.) This time, I’m looking for the normal gals like myself. Just, you know. Prettier.

    So, how have the “pretties,” as I have decided to call them, fared? I asked a few PlayDates some questions and they were more than happy to provide answers in exchange for anonymity, which I have honored. What did I learn? Well, first off, they’ve run into some of the same issues that I have.

    “Back before the official launch (and Crush-O-Matic) I actually had people willing to pay to play,” a PlayDate told me. “Anymore, it seems like all anyone wants to do is chat and not game. Maybe things will pick up again, though.”

    One PlayDate chooses to rationalize the behavior. “A few guys have asked me to remove my clothing, but I expected that,” she said. “It’s the Internet, and the boys are a bit more bold – and rude – than they would be in person.”

    Another PlayDate was clearly more frustrated by these encounters. “Some people can be really mean, or they think this is a webcam slut girl kinda show and get mad when I don’t show my boobs,” she said. “They ask me to take off my clothes and stuff, but I’m like…seriously? Go to a webcam site. You’re paying me 36 cents a minute and that’s what you want? Yeesh. I know some girls who will say yes – provided they pay more. So…it all depends on the girl you talk to.”

    I didn’t think I’d experience what she was talking about so soon. Player 8 is one of the late-night guys, and I’m in my pajamas. “How much for you to take your shirt off?” he asked me. Well, that’s a question I’ve never gotten before in my life. I understand why other people like this negotiation-type arrangement. You get the exact amount that you’re tipped – no 60/40 split – and the Player can use his or her remaining balance toward actual on-camera time. You have to give up 40 percent at that point, but at least you’ve got your guaranteed tip. Smart tactics. I like it. [Edit: Since writing this, the tipping option has been removed from profile pages, so sending a tip now requires entering a PlayDate session. GameCrush has replaced the profile tipping button with a "gifts" option that allows you to send a virtual gift to a PlayDate that she can then redeem for credits. However, these credits may sit in limbo, or the site may still be taking its own cut.]

    Methods like this remind me of one of the ways that GameCrush really succeeds. No matter what, PlayDates are in control. If we don’t like how you talk to us, or what you ask us to do, we can block you with one push of a button.

    “If I get a bad vibe from a player, or a game request from a player who was rude, I simply decline [the game request] and/or block him,” one PlayDate said. “The block button comes in handy if ‘Sorry, but no’ isn’t enough of an answer.”

    That one block can have far-reaching consequences – a single block can get you kicked off the site. Of course, I don’t know if that means you can never come back (as in, a total IP ban) or if it’s simply a removal of that username from the site, but either way, do you really want to find out? It would behoove you to behave. Of course, your good behavior should extend beyond the GameCrush site, but some Players just can’t seem to take ‘no’ for an answer.

    “The inappropriate ones are easy to deal with. It’s the stalkerish ones that are more difficult,” one of my interviewees told me. “I have had two guys who were borderline stalkers messaging me whenever I’d sign on, claiming they were in love with me and begging for my real name and address so they could take me out. I know they mean well, they just misunderstand,” she clarified. “I’m not here to start a relationship, I’m here to game. I just tell them their princess is in another castle.”

    It’s this sort of treatment that makes me especially happy that I never handed out my contact information to any of the Players who asked for it (which, at this point, is about half of them – asking for my RealID in WoW is a very sneaky attempt at getting my email address, by the way). Keeping your contact with Players strictly to the GameCrush website is more about safety than preventing annoyances.

    As far as the money goes, no one’s making a killing. It’s the kind of money that helps, but it’s not paying the bills. “I have made a decent amount of money…I’d say it’s more a supplementary income than anything I could actually live off of,” one PlayDate said.

    Another seemed to have more trouble since the Crush-O-Matic’s launch. “In my first two days on the site [before the official launch], I made upwards of $70 from two games,” she told me. “I was surprised and excited! But now I haven’t even gotten one paid game since I’ve been back. Maybe I’m doing something wrong.”

    In some cases, it’s a little harder just because of your expressed gender. I talked to one male PlayDate in addition to the women, just to get another viewpoint.

    “It’s a bit lonely being a guy here,” he said. “I’ve made no money so far, and I’ve been here for months – since beta.” So clearly he’s not here for the cash. “I stay because sometimes, I get to be matched with another girl PlayDate using Crush-O-Matic and then we talk. Some of the girls here are really nice and I’ve made a few friends.”

    The social aspect – namely, making new friends – popped up in a few of the testimonials I received. “I’ve made a lot of friends with both the PlayDates and players, and I’ve had a ton of fun gaming with both,” one woman told me.

    Another recognized that the competition between PlayDates definitely exists, but it doesn’t seem to affect the site’s overall vibe. “I’ve met a lot of cool guys and girls,” she said. “[Other PlayDates are] not catty even though we’re virtually fighting for the same customers.”

    Apt word choice, that. Customers, instead of Players. Because at the end of the day, despite the outcry from some parts of the gaming community, GameCrush is still a business. It may operate behind some vague guidelines (remember, what happens on camera happens between two adults and there is no policing of those interactions) and straddle the line between amateur pornography and niche service, but it exists to make money for its owners.

    And that is where I worry about the future of the service. During the initial round of financing, the site managed to attract $700,000 from investors. That money may eventually get some more added to it, but how long is that initial investment going to last? With services that make some of the interaction come at a fraction of the cost – namely the absolutely free public text chats and Crush-O-Matic for video chats – are people going to continue to spring for more? With these precedents already set, will an additional cost cause a mass exodus from the site? How do the site owners avoid this? These are all questions I can’t really answer.

    But the one thing I have figured out is that the people providing these services – they’re the awesome ones. There are tons of awesome customers, as well. And ultimately, if you choose to do this, you’re the one setting the rules. You don’t have to stick to any preconceived notions that you have about a site like this one, no matter what people ask you to do.

    Despite its problems, and the fact that female gamers are almost fetishized on the site – which is, in itself, nothing new – at least this is one area of the gaming world where women have the power. No one’s forced to be there, you set your own rules (within the Terms of Service, of course), and for the users, it’s mostly about having fun. However, despite fun being the basis for the billions of dollars that the games industry generates, it might not be enough for GameCrush.

    I came into this with completely different expectations. I thought it was going to be a completely sleazy affair. But really, it’s only as risqué as you let it be – and at least you have the power to make it what you want. If there were nudity requirements, this article would have taken an entirely different tone. But there are genuinely good people on both ends.

    However, I know I can’t continue as a PlayDate. Not just because I’ve written this article, but because the people that expect more than I’m willing to give are occasionally too much for me to deal with. I signed in to grab the screenshots you see in this article – they’re of areas of the site that anyone can access – and someone tried to message me in public chat. My sound was low and the site was in another tab, so I missed three messages. Two of them were a generic “was up” (sic), followed by an “ok b*tch.” All within two minutes. I hit that “block” button, because that response, that quickly was quite uncalled for.

    At least I smiled while I did it. Player 1 would be proud.

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hire a programmer 5 pts

I just played this game last week. Hope to meet gamecrushers here.

Jaenylle 5 pts

Hey, I recall coming here a when this was first posted and reading your article. I just wanted say that if the old Gamecrush vibe wasn’t for you, you should take a look at it now. Gamecrush released a new change- now there isn’t pay per minute, and they have added ways for everyone to earn credits towards rewards (And the reward zone is practically a gamer’s heaven). The focus has changed and Gamecrush has become, for lack of better term, a real gaming community.

He listed a BS email, lols.

cherryghost41 5 pts

Good job, this was a very interesting read. I enjoyed it.

scroller 5 pts

That was an informative and objective article on a topic that's hard to be informative and objective about, thank you :) At first I pondered checking out the site just to see if I can find a fellow interesting person to talk to about gaming but then I saw the paid services' price. It's amusing seeing how niche the target demograph(sp?) for this site is, the ones that would maintain the site's existence by paying - people(usually men), with a not-insignificant disposable income, that are sort of desperate for contact with the other gender. Or are looking for friends/community/company whatever, but there's better places to look. To add a bit of perspective, I'll finally say that in my home country, I can get a real life prostitute for an hour for the equivalent of ~42$, which, while not the best possible way to cope with extreme loneliness and the related issues still looks like a way better alternative than this site's (paid) services.

Anyway..Tiffany, if you think I should still give the site a try without paying just to see if I can find someone else to talk about gaming (my background in this relation is quite complex and peculiar so that would not be the easiest of tasks :)) than by all means, feel free to encourage me. If not, thanks again for "doing it right" with this article.

candybeans 13 pts

scroller You can go hang out and just chat for hours if you want to, but keep in mind that PlayDates will eventually have paying customers and they might want you to become one of them. Just keep it friendly, especially in text chat. Don't talk about sex, that gets old. If people get a little irritated....don't get upset, I guess, just move on.

Jaenylle 5 pts

Your article was amazing! You gave Gamecrush a fair chance. I've met a lot of cool gamers on Gamecrush, but of course, with the fair amount of guys who also pushed for less 'gaming', and wouldn't accept that they were denied. Sorry to hear it can be too much for you, but I hope you come back!

candybeans 13 pts

Jaenylle It's not necessarily that it's too much in the sense you're thinking. It's really too much work for too little reward, if you get what I mean.

EarthwormJane 5 pts

Great article! Im so glad that you really took the time to get to know the site! Thank you so much!
Sorry your ending experience wasn't as great as you had hoped, but I definitely hope to see you around on there again at some point!

candybeans 13 pts

EarthwormJane You may, but for different reasons.

GC_SweetVixen 5 pts

I love your article! I love that you pointed out that we are in control as to how far we go. There are many players who try to get me to show skin(always denied) but there is also a ton of just really cool guys who want to chat and have a good time gaming(actually good friends with a bunch now). About the blocking you mentioned, I believe its if they get blocked 10 times they are banned. I wish you would have come across more nice guys! :) Another awesome thing about GameCrush is the GC community as well as how close the girls are. I consider a bunch of them my friends. :)

candybeans 13 pts

GC_SweetVixen I came across plenty of nice guys, and they're the whole reason I didn't just blast the entire service. It's a lot more fun to write about the bad times, though...

jellybean118 5 pts

WHy did you put yourself on display to be taken advantage of by strange men over the internet? more importantly, what kind of a man is your husband that he was okay with this?

ElectricNerd 6 pts

jellybean118 jellybean118 I'd assume "trusting" would be the type. When I was working an a very adult oriented line of work over the phone, the girl I was dating at the time wasn't bothered by it. She knew I wasn't actually doing anything. I mean, especially with Tiffany here. She's getting on a site and playing Flash games where guys were hitting on her but she wasn't doing anything about it. Exactly how is this any different from what any girl experiences while gaming online?

candybeans 13 pts

jellybean118 To answer the questions - my husband is a journalist who has also done investigative undercover pieces and understands the level of committment it requires to not do a crap job at it. I am someone who wanted to do this piece and do it right, no matter what it entailed. At no point did I ever actually lose power over any situation - with one button click, I could be out of any situation and I falsified my personal information with each Player I encountered. My husband trusts me and I didn't really have to "put myself on display" that often, anyway. Thanks for the concern, I think?

Neurosys 5 pts

As much as I would love to meet cool gamer women: 1) Flash games are lame and 2) If I have to pay a woman to play video games with me lol.. wow.. something really missing from that little fantasy.

SalazarFanGurl 5 pts

The article was spot on, though I have experienced some really good Players that don't expect nudity.

CrimsonWags 5 pts

Fantastic article! I only heard about this, but was kinda weary of what this really was.Where you asked for an XBox Live or PSN Tag?

candybeans 13 pts

CrimsonWags I could provide it, but most people stuck to Flash games where they didn't need it. Not once did someone ask me to play a console title.

ElectricNerd 6 pts

Haha, you know, I used to be friends with Eekabeep (Terresa) of the original Fragdolls so I should probably be a little offended by some of this but...honestly...you hit the nail on the head. I loved this article. Also, if it makes you any better, I am male and I used to be in the imploy of (to put it PC) an adult service over the phone. In my time there I had a good amount of stalker clients a well so I feel your pain. Especially one that some how managed to use her phone bill to figure out where exactly I was calling from and mail me underpants. I still have them on the wall of my home office as a joke. A ridiculously over sized pair of silk boxers with hearts on them with a little note from her on them that says, "when we meet, wear these." So...I feel your pain ma'am.

candybeans 13 pts

ElectricNerd Now THAT is creepy.

ElectricNerd 6 pts

candybeans Isn't it just? Haha. Learned a lot of good and bad from it.

maidenvoyage 6 pts

Awesome article. Very fair. I found it informative -- I've been curious about what *really* goes on on GameCrush.

Riot_in_Eden 5 pts

Let me start off by saying, I am a Playdate. I found this artcle via Twitter and the site as well and its so awesome. I think this article really hit the nail on the head and its nice to see a fair veiw of how things are on the site and I would agree with everything you had said.

So thanks for the great read!

candybeans 13 pts

Riot_in_Eden Thanks, Riot. I didn't want to shrug it off completely, so I really took my time and I hope it shows.

EsmeraldaSG 5 pts

"But the one thing I have figured out is that the people providing these services u00e2u0080u0093 theyu00e2u0080u0099re the awesome ones. There are tons of awesome customers, as well." <- Not trying to discredit this, but from your piece you didn't seem to really encounter them personally? Since you mainly described the odd people asking for nudity and the like. - - - I have my own notions about the site given everything I've read on them (undercover editorials like these), and it still remains the same as what I've seen as the majority opinion of the gaming community. I respect GameCrush as business because that's what it essentially is at its core. But this rationality: u00e2u0080u009cIu00e2u0080u0099m not here to start a relationship, Iu00e2u0080u0099m here to game," just seems a little invalid given the nature of the site. Considering how it's advertised at conventions and newsletters anyway. Yes, gaming is an aspect, but the main attraction is interaction. Interactions and communitication (not necessarily relationships) is what people pay for, and those boys (and some girls) who go there willing to ditch out money expect more than a simple game session. Especially given there are so many free sites out there where you can interact with other gamers. And tournaments where you can even win money gaming. I've met some of the GameCrush girls so I know you have control of what goes on and you only let it go as far as you want it, but if you're signed up, your main reasoning for being there seems to be money. If you build friendships from it, that's a bonus to your initial incentive. I pass no judgment on the people there since I don't know them, but I still think the stigma people place on the people that sign up for GameCrush will never go away.

EsmeraldaSG 5 pts

Meant to add the most important part: enjoyed your article :) Good work

candybeans 13 pts

EsmeraldaSG The people that I talked to aside from the odd folks really did seem nice. As did quite a few of the oddballs (for instance, the guy who said he thought it was a girl gamer dating site? Aside from that information, I talked to him for a couple of hours and he is, in fact, pretty nice. Most of the time I talked with these folks for free in text chat for an hour or more). And honestly, yeah - that stigma's never going away, in the same way that most people look down upon porn stars. And I don't really care either way about that. I didn't set out to prove that "Oh, it's nothing like you expected," because it's TOTALLY what you'd expect, and people are TOTALLY all about it for the money. And thank you, lol.

Brrbarella 5 pts

Loved the article piece. I think it portrays the site's services from both ends and gives readers a better comprehensionof what this site caters to rather than making a quick snap judgment! :)

Heart1lly_ 5 pts

Hey Tiffany, solid piece here. This is not the first undercover at Gamecrush article I've read (I think I've seen three others recently), but it IS the best. I think a lot of people have a very knee-jerk reaction when they see a playdate on Twitter. I've seen a friendly, pleasant girl get completely mauled by other girls on Twitter just because she was a playdate. Thanks for writing this, it was really great.

candybeans 13 pts

Heart1lly_ Thank you! I tried to do a little more than I'd seen before.

ChrisBrown 7 pts

Really good piece of writing. I wonder how long GameCrush will be in business with that pay model.

candybeans 13 pts

ChrisBrown I don't know if they can go longer than another year, angel funds or not.

RobinYang 5 pts

Tiffany - thanks so much for writing about this experience. I think a lot of us were very quick to judge both the people who paid and people who played on the site when the news about this service first came out, and this is the first solid attempt I've seen so far to talk about what actually goes on between users over a period of time.

candybeans 13 pts

RobinYang Thanks, Robin. I was pretty frustrated with the folks who didn't do anything but sign in and go, "Oop! This is stupid!" so I found it necessary to actually take my time.

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stealthyslyth 7 pts

Pedo You are just so edgy aren't you?

Hya 7 pts

stealthyslyth Pedo I think, from his username, he's just upset that the site doesn't cater to child molesters.

Trackbacks

  1. [...] the internet, what’s the worst that could happen? So she went undercover and has brought back an interesting and descriptive tale of her experiences. Some of it might be shocking to you, but only if you’ve never spent any [...]

  2. [...] the original post:  Undercover at Gamecrush There are no comments to this entry yet Add Your Comment Name (required) E-mail address [...]

  3. [...] Do You Want To Be My Playdate? Undercover At Gamecrush [...]

  4. [...] Do you want to be my PlayDate? Undercover at GameCrush (Gaming Angels): “Yeah, they’re advertising as a gamer dating site. Which, if you haven’t caught on by now – GameCrush is not for dating. Yes, we’re called PlayDates, but you shouldn’t be expecting to take us out to dinner any time soon. And yet someone in charge of advertising has chosen to give people false hope. Does this hope actually do anything? It might get a few people to pull out their wallets, sure, but people who are looking for real human interaction aren’t going to settle for pay-for-play.” [...]

  5. [...] stick to that, and no one ever will. The video feeds aren’t monitored. I can tell you from my own experience, however, that a lot of guys never really were that interested in reading that long document. And [...]

  6. [...] Nevin, a reporter for Gaming Angels and friend of Kotaku’s, spent some time undercover as a PlayDate on GameCrush, and came out of the experience with unsurprising results. She does give GameCrush [...]