We’ve heard of meth-users hiring prostitutes to indulge in an ice bender with them, but now it seems that female company is being solicited in another bizarre environment—the realm of online gaming.
Want China Times has reported on the growing popularity of this phenomenon, which sees lonely gamers paying an escort to play with them – in the virtual world, of course.
The normal rate is around 20-100 RMB (US$3-15) per hour, while girls with sweeter sounding voices or those offering real-life companionship attract a higher premium.
Although online gaming bars are usually viewed as a sanctum of solitude, it seems that a growing number of gamers (mainly white-collar workers in coastal cities) have become disaffected with the anti-social nature of the lifestyle and are willing to pay for some intimacy – albeit via an internet connection and a World of Warcraft avatar.
Indeed, escort brokerage firms are seizing on the growing market, taking 5-10% commission to pair up forlorn gamers with an escort. The top escorts, who also specialise in tutoring gamers, can make up to 8,000 RMB (US$1,300) per month.
However, concern has been voiced over the lack of effective regulation of such services. Not only is their margin for fraud, but this could easily become a new frontier for illegal prostitution as some gamers might be tempted by the offline pleasures of their escort’s company.
Recently in the wacky world of online gaming in China, a 22-year old gaming addict demanded to be arrested by police to keep him away from the internet; while, tragically, a disgruntled teenager burnt down his family home—killing his parents and younger brother—after being scolded for spending too much time playing games online.
By Liam Bourke