A look at the demographics of the website GameCrush reveals that there is still a large gender disparity in gaming. Users of the site can pay to play games via webcam with “playdates,” most of whom are female, in games ranging from board games to first-person shooters.
This report emphasizes the interactive nature of the site, stating that paying to game with a hot girl is not unlike buying her a drink at a bar–simply a way to introduce oneself and ask for her company for a little while. Sex-chatting and raunchiness are apparently discouraged and could get one booted from the site.
As usual, I react with some ambivalence. I know it can be difficult for shy folks to connect with others, so any media that helps them do so is great; but I worry about potential exploitation (of both players and playdates) and the possibility of commercialization obscuring human connection.
(thanks to Oz for the link to the story)