In China, video games are an activity often relegated to internet cafes.
Players pay by the hour, and some spend many hours at a time focused on a PC — sitting in a room with dozens of other people, yet isolated in focus on the game they’re playing. Unsurprisingly, it can get mighty lonely, despite being surrounded by fellow players.
From that loneliness, some Chinese escorts are cashing in. As Chuang Shu-chung reports at the China Times, female escorts are charging lonely game players “between 20-100 yuan (US$3.20-$US16)” per hour for the pleasure of their company.
This isn’t anything lurid or sexual; it’s an opportunity for China’s paid companion industry to expand into the wildly popular world of internet cafe game culture. Women — often college students and moonlighting office workers — offer companionship, and sometimes offer educational services in the game being played. These services are most often solicited by workers living in coastal regions with more financially lucrative jobs, the China Times reports.
The concept of escorts is nothing new to video game culture in China; similar concepts exist in South Korea and Japan, where PC gaming cafes thrive. In Tokyo’s video game-centric Akihabara district, for instance, maid and escort cafes sit alongside massive arcades. In Seoul, PC “bangs” (pronounced “bah-ng”) are quite popular, largely focused on the country’s game of choice, “StarCraft.”
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