By: Alexandria Sese > Freshman > English > University of Illinois
There is a new contender on the Internet that has the potential to rival Facebook in the gaming world. GameCrush.com is an online service that allows both male and female gamers to purchase a one-on-one gaming session with other users, called PlayDates, and get to know them through text and video chat.
Similar to Facebook, PlayDates create their own profiles that other users can view. Though the game selection is small, it is expected to expand within the next months. The buzz on GameCrush.com was so epidemic that it experienced a system meltdown right after it launched. The site has been re-launched recently to accommodate the increasing website traffic it receives.
What makes GameCrush.com different from other social network services is the atmosphere that it hopes to provide gamers. “We saw from Xbox Live that there is a demand for a place where guys can play with girls one-on-one in a safe area.” says Brent Bucci, PR Representative of GameCrush.com. The site gives full control to PlayDates including tools to block or report users that they feel are disrespectful. Bucci also explains that they respond to any negative reports made by players against other players through immediate appropriate sanctions, something they saw Xbox Live lacked. “We are creating a valuable community,” Bucci says, from a “relationship-gaming angle.”
And gamers approve. “Having an actual system (GameCrush.com) in place could [provide] a much greater chance [of] allowing people to meet others,” says Steven M. Barth, 19, from Chandler-Gilbert Community College. “I would enjoy meeting someone I have something in common with through gaming.” Many see a common interest in videogames as a fun way to break the ice and make connections. Although the idea that all gamers never leave their gaming dens to have social lives is not true at all Gamers like Barth are excited about the concept of a social network geared toward gamers of different levels.
However, not every gamer out there believes GameCrush.com is as promising as creators hoped it would be. “I’ve been harassed before” Tosha Boyd of University of Alabama says when asked about her online gaming experience. “Although most of the people I play with are pretty awesome,” she adds, and says that abrasive gamers didn’t really make her want to play online any less. GameCrush.com also faces skepticism from some gamers. “I doubt there’d be any connection” Boyd says when asked about her opinion of GameCrush.com from a relationship perspective. “The most I’m ever really looking for from a social networking site is friends, period”
But Bucci from GameCrush.com remains optimistic about the endeavor, and with good reason. So far, there are at least 2,000 PlayDates registered on their site and it’s expected to increase as they make further changes to the website. “We want to create this for a new genre of gamer,” says Bucci. Both creators and gamers and will have to wait and see how far the success of GameCrush.com will go.