Fiverr has been making the rounds as a temp-for-hire site, allowing people to hire others to do just about anything for as low as $5. It was only a matter of time before it spread to gaming and its #Overwatch and #LeagueofLegends section seems to be thriving. Apparently Fiverr isn't just for getting PewDiePie in trouble.
There are plenty of online lessons and coaching sessions on Fiverr, but the new market involves a twist: some women are selling legal, platonic companionship services.
Most of their business does involve male clients, but it's also a chance for women to play with other women without being subject to online creepers.
Cecilia D'Anastasio from Kotaku actually hired some of these women to see what the hubbub was all about after seeing a viral Tweet bemoaning the practice. She instead found an enjoyable time and better gameplay than if she played by herself.
It's a fascinating idea, with the women she hired saying that since they are playing Overwatch they might as well get paid for it. Most are doing it to make a little extra money on the side, offering sets of games in packages for $5, $10, or $15.
The services offered vary per person. Some are coaching sessions, offering tips and lessons during play either for specific heroes or the game itself. Others offer carry sessions per hour or a set number of games. Most will play whatever character or class the buyer needs, though a popular one is a pocket healer, which is great for the buyer but not so great for the rest of the team. Voice chat is sometimes included, though others will offer it bundled with the premium services.
Cecilia hired three women to play with and interviewed an additional two. One of the women totally carried her, earning Play of the Game in the process. Another offered emotional support, laughing to jokes, cheering her good plays, and sympathizing with tough luck.
The women offering these services advertise playing all comps, but they often find themselves relegated to playing a healer by default. This plays into a troubling stereotype that women only heal due to some nurturing instinct or something, but the fact of the matter is no one else wants to heal and it often requires a skilled player.
There's still a lot of sexism in the gaming and streaming communities and these women aren't immune from it. One received a message from a man who was perturbed by her services. He asked why she was exploiting lonely men for money and accused her of perpetuating the stereotype of toxic female gamers who use their looks to succeed, citing all of this based on some cosplay photos she had up.
Several women reported receiving propositions from men who wanted something more than platonic, some requesting seductive little whispers in voice chat while they played. Understandably, they were not inclined to acquiesce to the requests. Playing with other people is fine. Indulging in a fetish or sexual fantasy is where these women draw a clear line.
There are many coaching and playing sessions available on Fiverr and the reason these women stand out is because they dare to advertise their gender. There are also plenty of men advertising sessions who aren't the subject of sexual scrutiny or accused of preying on lonely women. The topic of financial exchanges and gender always seems to hit heated points, but I think we can all agree that this guy has the right idea:
Would you ever hire someone to play games with you?