Game Crush - bringing the oldest profession into the online social gaming realm.
Okay, so let's get this straight right out of the gate.
The soon-to-be open social networking service according to their press page "introduces an entirely new interactive social gaming experience allowing gamers to meet, match and pay to play online games with other users (PlayDates)".
Okay, so PlayDates (who will now be referred to as a woman, since no men will be PlayDates) is a huge red flag for me here. This whole service is based around men paying to interact with a woman (does this remind you of another profession?).
Now this to me raises a whole wealth of issues ranging from the terms "PlayDate" (Playboy Bunny anyone?) and "Player" (do I need to say anything?). Are we back in the eighties here? Also the whole issue of men paying to play with women, and that the women get paid to play with the men."Also the whole issue of men paying to play with women, and that the women get paid to play with the men." Now this is going to sound harsh and it is my personal opinion here, but doesn't this scream of prostitution to you? I can see the ideal behind a site like this which is to bring more women to games and also to promote interaction between sexes in an online space, but let's call a spade a spade, shall we?
This is how it works: to register is free, and this lets you search and view profiles to see if a particular woman matches your... well, your what exactly?
What are you looking for here? Playstyle, types of game in common, is she a noob at Starcraft or are you just going to try to find the best looking girl you can find? You can chat and interact with the women through a MSN-like chat service with video - presumably to make sure that the profile picture of the buxom 19-year-old from Sweden you spent thirty-five minutes searching for is not in fact Mr. Roberts from across the road trying to make some extra cash.
So you have registered, searched and found a woman via their profile and you know via the webcam that it is not Mr. Roberts. You are now all set to take that next step which is to play some online poker together with your new "friend" or to team up and frag some locusts in Gears of War 2. Now, paying the woman to take this step is what makes the whole experience dirty for me. It's the same as prostitution or any of the thousands of adult webcam sites on the Internet and it just creeps me out.
I can also see "less reputable parties" getting involved in this business, like for instance the people who run the webcam sites, turning the service into another way for them to make money.
All in all I hate the whole thing. Taking money from lonely men and creating a potential to exploit yet more women on the net can't be a good thing in my opinion and this has all the potential of heading in that direction.
Don't take my word for it though, here is a link to their press site so you can read for yourselves what it is all about and see if I have blown this out of proportion. Mark out.