More on StripGamer from GameCrush co-founder Eric Strasser

Wednesday afternoon, I broke the news that new website StripGamer will bridge the giant gap between stripping and gaming. You probably don’t like this. Heck, I don’t really like it.

In that post, I mentioned that it seemed likely that StripGamer will exist primarily to draw some of the more undesirable traffic away from GameCrush — the users of the service who tended to ignore the fact that the site’s terms of service note that nudity isn’t allowed in video chats. On StripGamer, the site’s intentions are right in the name, after all.

In any case, my assumptions about the relationship between StripGamer and GameCrush were confirmed within a couple of hours by GameCrush co-founder Eric Strasser. My original post reflected some of these notes, but I thought it necessary to bring more information to you.

“StripGamer is our effort to keep GameCrush about meeting and playing games,” Strasser said. “As you know, we have been struggling with a brand image and we have learned a lot from the gaming community. We want GameCrush to be thought of as a friendly place to interact and, if you are interested, exchange a gift just to be nice. We are committed in making GameCrush like a bar, where buying a drink for someone is considered a natural and friendly act of kindness.”

(Fun fact: The GameCrush idea was conceived after watching men try to buy a bunch of drinks for women at a bar who knew a lot about football.)

“Struggling with a brand image” is definitely one way to put it, I suppose. Most people who know about GameCrush who haven’t used it (and a few that have) automatically label it as a “gamer girl sex cam site,” which is apparently not what it’s supposed to be. Not if you go by the rules, anyway. StripGamer is about making the difference very clear.

It’s also about fulfilling the wishes of some GameCrush users.

“[W]e received constant feedback from users, both male and female, wanting something different than what they could find on GameCrush,” Strasser said when I asked about the decision to go “adult.” But it appears that the two sites will operate separately.

“We started shopping around and talking with companies who are better at managing the type of experience the new site will offer,” he said. “We also didn’t want there to be any confusion about what the new site is about, hence the very matter-of-fact name ‘StripGamer’.  We really don’t know how much traffic this new site will see, but we do hope it helps improve the image of GameCrush.”

Of course, some “PlayDates” will be making the jump to the new site. That’s how I found out about StripGamer in the first place — they asked a (now former) PlayDate if she’d like to participate, and she told me about it.

That led me to think that the two sites were going to have a somewhat symbiotic relationship. It wouldn’t make sense for them to move PlayDates over to the new service if it meant they’d lose any money they’d normally be bringing in. The sites have to work together to make those staff shifts make any sense at all. And that may be true — for now, anyway.

Eric let me in on some things further down the pipeline. “Currently the two sites do have commonalities, including the same operational parent company,” said Strasser, referring to Whamspot, which owns GameCrush. “That will be changing in the near future as StripGamer will operate as an entirely separate entity.”

Oh, and it seems that Strasser definitely understands what some people were using GameCrush for. In reference to the flirty/dirty nomenclature that both sites have used, he said that “[this] was actually in response to this feedback that users will want different types of games and that we couldn’t just ignore it. Just look at what became of Second Life!” (If you haven’t been there, it ended up turning into sex all the time.)

I’m personally still of the opinion that the response to StripGamer is going to be very, very interesting, mostly because we’ve seen it all before. StripGamer is what everyone thought GameCrush was. It very openly crosses a line acknowledging the fact that the male gaze does tend to linger a little longer when it comes to women who game. Of course, now we just have to wait and see if GameCrush can garner a better reputation. No matter what, it’s all still really, really weird.