Launching today, GameCrush.com must think it’s sewn up the market for desperately lonely gaming geeks. Of course, how big a market that is is yet to be seen. Just imagine the marketing brainstorming session that could have taken place over a few dozen beers:
Entrepreneur #1: Man, I wish there were more hot girls playing on Xbox live.
Entrepreneur #2: I would totally pay to play Halo with a hot girl.
Entrepreneur #1: Would you? How much?
Entrepreneur #2: I dunno, $8 for 10 minutes?
At least, I’m assuming that’s kind of how it went.
Touting itself as the first social site for gamers, GameCrush connects “Players” (men) with “PlayDates” (women). IGN got a preview of how the site works, so here’s the rundown if you’re a paying customer: (1) Browse girls’ profiles (there are about 1200 at launch), view photos, and maybe chat for free; (2) Purchase credits – $8.25 for 500; (3) Send a girl an invite; and if she accepts (4) Play a game with her, complete with video chat (unless the game is Xbox live, since it’s not integrated – you’ll just have to find her gamertag). Ten minutes later, you’re $8 poorer but hopefully you’ve gotten something out of it?
Apparently they’re modeling their pricing after the idea of buying a girl a drink in a bar – after all, they say, you’re really just paying her for the opportunity to chat her up, right? So why not skip the bar altogether and do the same thing while playing Halo or Battleship?
The girls, meanwhile, are getting paid 60% of what they bring in, which in theory could be something like $20/hour to play games and chat with guys. And if you’re thinking this sounds kind of like an adult hotline… the girls can set their profiles to “flirty” or “dirty” and so whereas I’m sure that there are plenty of girls who just think it’s cool to get paid for playing games, well… nearly a dollar a minute is kind of pricey for the chance to play Halo with a girl’s voice on the line without the, uh, flirtiness.
The IGN reviewer says it seems like a sound business model, noting that “I have no doubt there are many gamers out there who would be willing to pay a little cash to play and flirt with hot girls.” Really? I can’t be the only one that finds this vaguely creepy. It might be slightly less creepy on a business model that’s ad-based rather than paying – but come on, considering how long you can sit in front of your Xbox playing Halo, are you really going to drop $50 for an hour of having a cute voice in your ear? And do you really want her talking dirty while you’re shooting people in the head?
So. Who’s planning on signing up for this? If someone tries it out, please let us know how it goes. And if you’re a gamer girl – would you play with guys for cash?