There's a new concept that's gaining in popularity in China. For a small fee - 15 Yuan per hour, which works out to roughly $3.00 - players can hire someone to game online with them. I find it a touch bewildering myself, but apparently there's a market for this sort of thing: one employee of the company behind the idea said that she earn's 2,000 yuan ($400) a month just by playing a few hours a night; further, many gamers have referred to the service as "good news"
At the time of writing, the company - which consists of five male and three female employees - offers two choices of player. In theory, you'll get guys like these.
The first is the "God-Class." Described as "extremely skilled," God players are for more serious customers looking to climb up the competitive ladder at any cost. These are the guys who'll carry you through games, get you past boss fights and make the rest of your team look like they're playing with their feet. That's the implication, anyway. Since none of the staff are - to my knowledge- professional players, your mileage may vary.
The second choice offered by the organization is referred to as MM, or "MeiMei." It's an interesting (and admittedly sexist) bit of internet slang which could refer to anything from a pretty girl to a little sister to female genitalia. MM-Class players are for those individuals who just want to have fun and avoid getting burnt out. From what I understand, they're basically online eye-candy; there to make the client feel good.
To be honest, I'm actually a bit surprised someone didn't come up with something like this sooner. Although I'm not terribly keen on the idea myself, the idea of hiring out top-tier players seems like it could actually prove to be a sound business model, particularly in the extremely competitive world of strategy games. As for the MM-class players, well...I'm not surprised there, either. There exist some pretty lonely people in the world.
So far, the service hasn't moved beyond Chinese shores. Even so, if it takes off there, it seems as though it's only a matter of time before we start seeing people hiring themselves out to game here. Jury's still out on whether or not that's a good thng.
What do you folks think? Would you be willing to fork over some cash to play with a gorgeous lady or a god?