With e-girls who get paid to play video games

If you’re looking for a freelance graphic designer, video editor, or ghostwriter, Fiverr is the site for you. Now you can also pay young ladies to accompany you while playing online video games. There are hundreds of accounts in the “Game” section. Some (usually men) offer training to master a skill, others (usually women) offer to play a game of your choice or watch anime with you for only 1 euro per session.

This type of listing has existed on Fiverr for some time, but in March 2020, a new, completely dedicated platform was launched. EPal.gg, formerly known as Egirl.gg, hosts hundreds of women’s profiles. Many of them embrace the e-girl aesthetic with a nod to anime and kawaii emojis. According to the site, E-Pal brings together people who share a common interest in video games, emphasizing fun rather than training. And you can be picky: the site lets you filter players by physical appearance and tone of voice to find the best match.

The site’s founder, Brian Xiong, 25, a student at the University of California, Berkeley, says the platform combs through all profiles submitted to make sure nothing is overtly sexual. But according to the girls who work at E-Pal, this does not prevent bad experiences. A few of them told us about their jobs, their salaries, and the creepy guys they encounter on a daily basis.

Aurora, 20 years old

Hello, Aurora. When did you start playing video games?
When I was little, I used to watch my dad play – mostly World of Warcraft – so I joined him. Thanks to this work, I discovered many other games. I mostly play today League of Legends, World of Warcraft, Hearthstone and Grand Theft Auto 5.

Do you tell people about your work at E-Pal?
My family and friends are aware, I don’t hide it. I never give personal information to clients. I only share my name, age and nationality. Sometimes I tell them about my day, but I created a personal Instagram account for this job and I never share my personal social information.

The prices on E-Pal are quite low. How much do you earn?
Not much. It starts from 1 euro per game, but the most popular girls can charge 20-25 euro. I’m studying computer science at university, so it’s good to save some money, but I’m also doing it to meet new people, have fun and play with someone.

Who are your customers?
So far, all my clients have been men, and I’ve never had a girl. They are all under 30 and working. There are a few Italians, but most are from the US or the Emirates, as well as Asians, mostly Japanese.

Why do you think they pay you to play with them?
They tell me they prefer playing with girls because they encourage them instead of pointing out their mistakes. They like foreign girls because they want to learn another language or meet someone from the other side of the world.

E-Pal is a bit like a dating site, it was even called egirl.gg until recently. What do you think about it?
Epal.gg tends to put girls on the front page, but guys do it too. Sounds sexist to me. It gives the impression that people are looking for players just because they are girls, not because we are good at playing and having fun. I think we should open this job to more boys.

Sarah*, 21 years old

How did you start playing?
My dad bought me a Nintendo DS when I was 6 or 7, but I always played alone at home. I was 13 when I first had an internet connection, but I played very little then. I started playing competitively when I was 15.

Why do you do it for money?
Because it pays more than a part-time store clerk; 30-40 euros per day. I have been doing this for several months now. I have other plans: I am studying at university and I would like to start a career.

Who is your average customer?
Whether they are young or over 50, they are all men. At first they just want to play, but then they want other things like naked. One guy offered me 50 euros for a topless picture. A lot of girls do it and make a lot of money. I’ve played with kids who just want to play, but the subject inevitably comes up. It’s a very sexy environment.

How does a gaming session take place?
After the order is accepted, we start playing and the customer decides if he wants to see me or not. Even if customers don’t show up often, I never fail to turn on my webcam. Even though my profile clearly states that I’m just playing games, I get asked weird things during most sessions.

What are your thoughts on this industry?
They call us the new porn icons. I’ve seen a lot of players get famous on streaming sites and then move on to another job like a nude model on Patreon. But unlike porn, we connect with customers instantly, allowing them to see us and build a relationship. That automatically justifies me sending them nude pics, which I never did.

Alice, 18 years old

Hello, Alice. How did you get started in the game?
I am Austrian and my mother is Italian. I am in my senior year of high school. My brother and cousin were playing League of Legends and I wanted to try.

How did you discover E-Pal?
A colleague showed me epal.gg for fun. At first I thought it was stupid, then I thought there was nothing wrong with creating a profile.

Did you tell anyone?
Just a friend. I’m afraid people will think I’m weird if they find out.

How are your customers?
I like to chat with them before exchanging contact. A lot of people are looking for things I don’t want to do, like nudes. I personally prefer to play with clients I like. Some are looking for a player to fill a specific role in the match, some just want company. A guy offered me a virtual date, we watched a movie and talked. I played with Germans, Austrians and Italians, usually Europeans around 25 years old.

Do you have regular customers? Or are they always different people?
There are people I talk to during the day and play in the evening, or customers who want to play two or three games at night almost every day.

Why are they looking for someone to play with?
Playing with random people can be a negative experience. There is a lot of toxicity on the internet. Maybe they want to play with someone who doesn’t have that toxic behavior. It’s a shame that so many people feel the need to pay someone to have a positive gaming experience.

Do you have any advice for people interested in this business?
I would say set limits because many customers will want things that are not appropriate. Remember that you can always say no.

Chiara (Cocobun), 22 years old

Why did you start working at E-Pal?
I am a graphic designer in a 5 star hotel so money is not an issue. I signed up out of curiosity because I like to gamble and I missed it during quarantine. The platform has been active since the end of February and I think it has been very successful because people are at home.

Who usually contacts you?
This is the question I get asked the most. They are usually men between the ages of 19 and 40, often having problems with women or complaining of anxiety or body image issues. One guy told me that he doesn’t like sex, he’s only happy with online relationships, and dating girls online is a kind of fetish. I clarify that I do not do porn, I only offer my company and my voice.

What do you mean by “voice”?
Well, you don’t have to play really well, but you have to know how to talk and entertain someone, maybe make them laugh or relax for half an hour. People contact me because my voice appeals to them, and some say they feel better after talking to me. Sound is just as important as looks.

Some contact you just to discuss?
Yes, there is a special section on the site. They usually contact me because of my appearance. Then we talk a little bit about everything – prison, work, where we live, because customers often come from abroad, mostly from Canada or the United States. A guy told me that he pays girls online to have someone share their interests with him for half an hour. Then he asked me my height, weight and if I had a boyfriend.

Are there regular ones?
There is a guy in Milan, I always accept his order because I like him from the beginning. There is a German who hires me three or four times a week and sends me recipes, a very normal guy. He likes me and often gives me gifts, e.g League of Legends – or send money to my PayPal account sometimes up to 80 euros.

*Names have been changed.

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