Sex, Games and XBox Live: How GameCrush Helps People Find Lust

Female gamers, rejoice! For all of you who’ve been looking to profit off of your video game skills, your prayers have been answered: Welcome to GameCrush.com.

Let’s be honest, it’s a slightly strange concept. Like eHarmony or Match.com, GameCrush hooks gamers up with one another … to play video games. (Get your minds out of the gutter, folks!)

For guys who want to sign up for GameCrush, the fee is $6.60 for 10 minutes, but for girls it’s free and includes the opportunity to receive payment for playing.

While that sounds like a win-win situation for both parties, the site has been accused by many on the Internet as being a location for virtual prostitution.

The creators of GameCrush have compared their site to buying a girl a drink at a bar. Essentially, guys are paying for the opportunity to interact with girls — only, at a bar you’re interacting face-to-face. I’m not so sure the analogy stands up here.

“GameCrush does not monitor, moderate or otherwise control the interaction between its users,” the website warns. It’s easy to see why outsiders may view the site as a cybersex portal disguised as a gaming site. So there’s only one option: to get the scoop from the inside and sign up for GameCrush myself.

A brief disclaimer: I have almost no clue what I’m doing or what I’m getting myself into. But I needed a topic for this column, I’m currently engaging in some major procrastination and the website is free since I’m a girl.

The sign-up process was simple enough and asked for zero personal information aside from an e-mail address and birth date. What struck me as the strangest part were the images of women on the website. Every “PlayDate,” as female gamers on the site are called, looked like a doe-eyed ingénue holding an Xbox controller. Two girls on the main page are wearing bathing suits, because clearly this site was created from the fantasy of 12-year-old boys.

I registered, signed in and was greeted to the most confusing control panel in the world. Normally, I pick up on navigating social networking sites pretty quickly because it’s not difficult to figure out how to edit your profile or upload a picture. But baffled by the multiple tabs that directed me to various parts of my profile to edit the and the ugly white text that made reading difficult, I was almost ready to call it quits.

After sorting through the different elements of my profile (about me, online schedule, physical stats, etc.) I discovered that the options of games they allow you to play are limited to four Xbox games (through Xbox Live) and five “casual games” that you can play right on the site, from Battleship to Tic-tac-toe.

And while you’re checking the boxes of the games you’re interested in, you can also choose your “mood” to list on your profile — flirty, dirty or both. Unfortunately, there’s no option for “none of the above, I don’t think I really belong here.” I’ll stick with the safe, default option of “flirty,” thanks.

GameCrush also allows players to chat with one another, so the site asks members to test their webcams. I follow the instructions, but the thought of jumping into a chat with a random stranger who may attempt to solicit strange favors for cash sent me clicking onto another page of the site. On this note, I decide to head to one of the shadier parts of any website: the forums.

Any Internet kid knows that online forums are where most intelligent conversations and good grammar go to die. On a website like GameCrush, I don’t really know what to expect.

Oddly enough, it seems like the majority of participants on the GameCrush forum are girls. Most likely PlayDates who have nothing to do because there aren’t enough desperate guys willing to shell out nearly $40/hour for the site.

A popular topic on the forums is a thread titled “Petition To Keep This Site Clean and Sex Free!” It seems it’s common on GameCrush for male members of the site to pay PlayDates for exposing themselves on camera. So there are plenty of guys on this site, but not the gamers you’d expect. In fact, the real gamers are probably too busy at their consoles playing Call of Duty than on GameCrush.

So what’s the conclusion? Is being a PlayDate on GameCrush much like having a drink bought for you at a bar? Answer: Not at all. Users of GameCrush might as well head over to MeetAGamer.com, which is like Myspace for gamers. And let’s face it, that really is all GameCrush is. At least MeetAGamer.com is free for both genders and the forums attempt a quasi-intelligent string of discussion threads. Modern Warfare 2 vs. Halo 3, anyone?