GAME Swinging Cancelled Due To Complaints

GAME Swinging Cancelled Due To Complaints

The controversial gaming-themed speed-dating event run by the retailer GAME has had its Melbourne and Brisbane events cancelled due to complaints.

GAME Swinging was first held in Sydney last November. After registering for the event, attendees would be able to play and trade their video games in a speed-dating environment. The “GAME Swingers” would partner up with each other for a gaming session and then opt to trade the game or trade the partner.

The Sydney event was considered a success, but an email sent out at the end of January to those who had registered for GAME Swinging announced that its Melbourne and Brisbane events were no longer going ahead.

The email read: “Due to the number of complaints received, we’ve been left with no other choice but to shut down the Melbourne and Brisbane events.”

We contacted GAME for a comment, asking what the nature of the complaints were, how many complaints were received, and why they would cancel an event if it was such a success. We received a response from the managing director of GAME, Paul Yardley.

“The GAME Swinging event was a great success, but unfortunately not everyone appreciated it,” he said.

“We always take feedback from consumers seriously and in light of the complaints we received, we reviewed whether to continue with the other events.

“Unfortunately for gamers in Brisbane and Melbourne, we had to make the decision to not go ahead.”

Mr. Yardley did not comment any further on the issue.

Did you attend GAME Swinging in Sydney? What did you think of it?


    • Well, remember the last five years or so of the R18+ pro campaign where we’ve been arguiing we’re adults, we’re mature, we aren’t childish idiots, we shouldn’t be treated as such…

      Yeah, that video shoots that all to hell.

      Thanks GAME.

      • What also really worries me is that, out front, it seemed like the people going in had no idea what the night was actually about…

        I’d be imagining that’s where a lot of the complaints originated from. Imagine if you’re with yuor girlfriend because GAME have invited you to a swapping even with a suggestive name, only to find it is EXACTLY what the title suggests and not just some funny little play on words as the game industry is, more often than not, want to do.

        Yeah… not the best idea GAME have ever had… and Mike Goldman? MAN i hate that guy…

        • This was my thought, also. The idea that the first person “interviewed” in that video said he had no real idea about what was supposed to happen that night is worrying. Not only was the campaign horribly tacky and sleazy, it was poorly described even to its target audience.

          Considering how the night ended up looking, I doubt GAME could come out and give a description of what Game Swinging really was, hence the lack of any real description of the night.

      • I was expecting it to be crass, but I wasn’t expecting to see some of the women in their underwear or less.
        You can see why they had to cancel the other events.

        • My opinion exactly. I expected speed dating like stuff, and the video shows a bit of that, but then it’s like BRING IN THE STRIPPERS.

  • At a guess it could have been over fears of underage involvement? Or because the ACL wasn’t invited? Which kind of go hand-in-hand anyway…

    • ohhh burrnnnn

      *i am aware that generalisation actually applies to the catholic church, not the christian, but i’ll pay it!

  • I think the real problem is that they used Mike Goldman (the Big Brother narrator) – Seriously? Is the guy even a gamer?

    Also I didn’t get to the event, but I imagine it would have been a sausage fest. Hardly fun, swinging with another 3 dudes…

  • I’m not sure if anyone properly attended GAME swinging sydney seems like nothing but prostitutes and a bunch of guys they probably grabbed from a nearby brothel for free ‘entertainment’.

    • Correct! That is exactly what I thought. When I saw the first girl they talked to…instantly thought “that is a working girl”. And then they started talking and taking clothes of.
      How to get a virus when trading….

      • Oh well, on the bright side at least if they were working gurlz there would’ve not been as much of a chance of getting a disease, seeing as most places they work these days make the girls provide a clean bill of health in order to work. HOWEVER, I would’ve worn a hazmat suit in that crowd to protect myself from catching douchebag syndrome for that Big Brother host guy! I don’t know how anyone hasn’t punched him yet. So annoying! And he’s a gamer, my ass.

  • Maybe if they didn’t present it in such a crass manner it would have been better.
    They would have had a much better reaction if it was presented as a social, as a way to meet fellow gamers and maybe meet someone special, instead it was cheaply presented as a smutty swingers night.

    Does the industry really see us all as being so shallow as to respond to this kind of marketing?

    • Yes, they think we’re brainless idiots and horny nerds. But on the other hand you have EB games with their carrots and shit that think we’re all 6 year olds…

      • i hate to break it to you, but EB’s core target market is the families and soccer mums. They make it a family-friendly environment on purpose.

        The whole carrots thing is a very clever idea to give the core the rewards they want while also providing something fun and cute for the children to focus on.

        What GAME are doing, however, is just going for straight out shock-value along with the media that comes with it. They are appealing to the “any PR is good PR” school of thought.

    • Well, yeah. I think that was the point. It was called “Game swinging” after all, not “Game speed dating” or “Game social dating”. I’m not quite sure what else you could expect.

      BTW, I’m not an advocate of this, I think the whole idea was pretty stupid and borderline deplorable. But you can’t go and complain that it was a smutty swingers night when the name of the event had “swinging” in it.

      • That’s hardly fair considering how borderline smutty and suggestive games and game events can be without actually going there.

        Take saints row 3, for instance. It featured a large purple dildo and a marketing tag line of “strap it on”.
        Yet it merely used these as novelties and never ventured into the literal.

        You have to really take in mind that gamers are becoming very jaded to the constant barrage of smutty tag lines and even names and the such, therefore it’s not reasonable that people should know exactly what they are walking into just based on the name of the night.

        I mean, when i saw it i thought “hey, look at that, they’ve made a game trading night as a parody of an underground adult event”.
        Then i watched the video.
        It’s not a parody…

        • That’s a fair enough point. Personally though I was never under the impression it was anything BUT what was portrayed in the video. Although I’ll admit, I didn’t expect to see girls stripping off in the “public” area. That certainly seemed unusual. Makes we wonder if it was the amount of alcohol consumed or whether those girls were there on a job, so to speak.

          • I’d say they were paid to do that.
            I mean, lets be realistic. there aren’t THAT many girls that are THAT easy IRL.

            I mean, there are girls with loose morals, but normally THAT loose is reserved for certain night-time professions

          • The name may have been Game Swinging, but the description they gave was more akin to speed dating. And damn, this is more an orgy than either of the others.

          • “I mean, lets be realistic. there aren’t THAT many girls that are THAT easy IRL”
            Dude, there are plenty of females IRL who will remove clothing and flirt with guys with the promise of free booze and compliments. (Girls Gone Wild, hello?) As someone who’s worked as a lap dancer I can tell you there’s no way anyone in anyone who works my job or any of the other, er, “night-time professions” would stoop to this kind of thing, not unless there were massive amounts of cash involved – cheaper to get girls from some mainstream r&b club. The only girls in that video are attention whores. And there’s no shortage of them around, they wanted free alcohol and a little ego boosting attention from gamer guys because they’re y’know “sooooo, like, desperate because they’re totally allll like virgins or whatevarrrr!” That view of the gamer population being perpetuated by cheap stunts like this. Embarrassing!

          • Wait, so you’re saying there’s plenty of slutty and loose morale girls out there, just not the kind that do that for a living? Ironic.

          • No, just that slutty and “loose morale”(?) girls are in every occupation, and thank the Lords of Kobol for that or only married couples would be having sex! 🙂

  • This could have had potential if it wasn’t so hyper-sexualised (which I can garuantee is what the nature of the complaints wold be about).

    I do however, like the fact that it presents an environment for people with a gaming interest to meet (similar to Mana Bar), and also the actual concept of it is very sound.

    They just seem to have marketed it completely wrong. Well actually to be fair, they went with the more profitable route…

    • Sex should never have been involved, really.

      They could have had the name and the atmosphere, but had it stick to trading and playing games while meeting new people.

      That, imho, would have been a hit and would have nothing to complain about.

  • Pretty sure it was complaints due to how outright smutty it was compared to how ‘mature’ it was made to be. Watching the videos made me cringe at the least X(

  • Wow, WTF!? It looked like a decent event until the girls started taking their tops off…

    I’m actually really ashamed at GAME for this. Let’s make a team effort to exclude them from the local gaming community now and get them shut down. I don’t support gaming-sex joints.
    Game Traders and even EB for life!

    • I used to like GAME, because it was a decent alternative to walking into EB with their shitty prices, poor customer service and that annoying voice-over advertisement guy every 10 seconds. When I first saw them campaigning Game Swinging, I was pretty disgusted and offended but I thought to myself that it was just a poor idea and I let it slide enough that I would still be a customer.

      Then I saw photos that GAME posted on Twitter on the night, which made me think of nothing more than them hiring hookers as the ‘girl gamers’ and I was even more disappointed in them… and now I’ve seen this video, which shows how even more depraved the night ended up being and how clearly they don’t seem to care about treating women in particular with any ounce of respect, regardless of whether they are a gamer or not. I feel like this doesn’t help any female (or more specifically, female gamer) with the uphill battle that we encounter over stereotypes and image.

      And so, for all the above reasons, GAME will no longer be receiving any of my money or positive word of mouth.

      I do, however, feel sorry for the many retail employees of GAME who don’t agree with the Game Swinging idea and have to deal with all the lashback from it. I know several employees who hated the idea but couldn’t do anything about it short of quitting.

      • I used to work there before I got completely f***ed over, and I have to say I completely disagreed with the idea. Luckily, none of our customers really knew what it was so I didn’t have to deal with too many complaints but I just thought it was the most ridiculous idea.

  • I’m pretty certain that complaints somewhat revolved around the expectation of what the event was going to be. I honestly thought it would be some sort of speed dating event with “real” women gamers. Once I saw the video and heard one of the women speak, I was almost certain they were paid to be there. I have a lot of female friends who registered for the Melbourne event and was very disappointed to find out the true nature ofthe event…

    • yeah.. i don’t think i saw any one of the female variety that could be a gamer at all?

      Then again, i only watched it once and that was more than enough…

  • Dudes what where you expecting?? Seriously how dumb are people today, maybe it’s time for alot of you prudes to sign up with the Aust. Christian Party. It was called a swingers party for a reason, of course it was going to be smutty and ooh my good shock horror girls taking their clothes off!!!. It’s a SWINGERS PARTY, do you understand?? If you don’t like it simple don’t go. If you want to eat fairy bread, play games and meet nice new people, don’t expect it at a Swingers party..

    • It’s called “GAME Swingers” – see the words there:

      GAME Swingers.

      The introduction of that word to the front of the title could mean ANYTHING from

      “Free swapping games like those kooky swingers from the 70’s”

      all the way to…

      “Let’s play videogames and, oh, here take my girlfriend for your sexual pleasure”

      It was all about expectation: If i read the words “Antique Swinger” you could imagine there might be a bit of confusion over the meaning – and my mind wouldn’t necessarily go straight to “Oh it’s got swingers in the title so it must mean WIFE SWAPPING”

  • I think it’s got less to do with complaints and more to do with failure to achieve anything. Even if they didn’t bribe anyone into attending they didn’t seem to do anything that justified the cost of renting the venue and organising the event.

  • Hmmm….I’m guessing this is all a stunt, there weren’t any complaints and that Game just wanted to do this to make them seem like a “super cool company”

    I assume some marketing guy said “lets advertise this speed dating event, let people think they can come but then get a whole bunch of male and female models and strippers to pretend that it was a wild party and everyone got laid. We can then advertise more but cancel them and make everyone think our parties are just to wild”.

    Also, one “high scores room”. Looks like that place would have ended up being disgusting……

  • Ohh, so its not ‘Game swinging’ its “GAME presents- Swinging”

    Right, right.

    You mean to tell me a corperate PR gig crashed and burned because it didnt fully understand its customer base? Also, the guy from Big Brother was hosting?

    And people expected this to not suck?

  • I think the problem here is showin the article itself, where it’s referred to as a “gaming-themed speed-dating event”. Which to me, sounds fine and inspired, and probably what the majority of people expected. As to what it really was, I’m still trying to wrap my head around how it works (no, not the birds and bees part). Jumping the shark comes to mind though.

  • So let me get this straight, GAME hired a venue and hookers, and basically shouted the people who decided to have sex with the hookers. So they got free sex from hookers!

    • There’s probably fine print terms and conditions they had to sign when they accepted the invite. No one ever reads terms and conditions.

  • This, like other promotions and things GAME have decided to run couldn’t have seemed like a good idea in anyone’s eyes. The only conclusion I can come to is that they truly don’t understand their customers, or they were just after some publicity – any publicity, by whatever means.

    I’m sure there are some ‘gamers’ out there that would’ve found this event to be a dream come true. Then again, the more well adjusted gamers amongst us with a scrap of self esteem and/or dignity would have said no. Which apparently a lot of us did.

    Just to clarify, sex/sleaze and the general type of setting being described here doesn’t offend me, not in the slightest. They just have their place and applications, and this was clearly not one of them.

    I used to like GAME, back when they started. They gave amazing prices for tradeins, had friendly, knowledgable staff, and their rewards program was great. They basically sent me a $30-40 voucher every three months or so.

    Nowadays they seem to be populated by a quantity of apathetic staff who seem to know or care little about what they are selling, and customers are met with a revised and somewhat shitty rewards program, dodgy deals, questionable pricing, and promotions/events like the one covered in this article.

    It’s like the way Gametraders went, they used to be great, but turned into some demented/bastardised version of their former selves. Why do companies feel the need to do these things? I mean I know it’s all money money money, but surely someone has the foresight to see they’ll make more money in the short term, but significantly reduce their long term success.

    Many retailers cry poor about online shopping, taxes, etc, but there’s a helluva lot of cases where retailers seem not very keen on displaying good sense and trying to make people feel welcome or encourage them to enter their stores. Instead they alienate them.

  • So let me get this straight….. you turn up to Games swingers night Mike Goldman is there dressed as Willy Wonka for some reason, you then play Mario Kart with some hookers then if you don’t like your hooker you swap your hooker with another guy. You then can have sex with the hooker in the high scorers’ suite, but be careful not to roll on top of a used condom or put your hand in a jizz puddle because there are only a few rooms available and the sheets are not going to be changed until the end of the event!
    Sincere apologies to the women if they are not hookers!

    • Yo! Can we all agree that this is a dick move by GAME without resorting to stereotyping people who work in the adult industry? You know how it sucks when you get judged for being a “geek”? Same goes for every other group in society. Off-topic, I know and you were probably only joking, but sexphobia pisses me off. And ironically most of the girls I know who are into gaming, sci-fi, fantasy, etc, are those who work as hookers and dancers. Go figure.

      • m0sh, while I appreciate what you’re saying, I don’t think people here are necessarily being judgemental of prostitutes and/or strippers. The theory was that the girls in the video are either sex workers or have low self esteem, not both. And the faith in humanity we have prompts us to believe it’s the former, hoping that, at the very least, these woman got payed for their stripping.

        • I hope they got paid too, but time and time again members of my sex have proven to me that all they need is a couple of alcopops in order to become an unpaid stripper…o_0

  • For those of you who haven’t read the TechRomp article where they interviewed the Managing Director of GAME on the Game Swinging event, I’d recommend it:

    It gives even more insight into how stupid GAME are at event planning and understanding their customers. I especially love the bit where he notes that Game Swinging did not permit people interested in same-sex relationships. It just goes to further show you what they had in mind for the night and it was more than just “lol play some games and trade them if you hate them!”

    Also, apparently same-sex gamers aren’t worth recognition or acknowledgement, they’re things to be shoved in the corner and left unconsidered, just like their views on dignity and respect for women.

  • This is a bit two faced here… When they launched the “Novelty” reward cards there was a customer complaint and it was considered a huge success because it got media coverage and there was no “take(ing) feedback from consumers seriously” . Now complaints get this treatment… They should stick to their guns for once.

  • You all know they didn’t get sex for free. As soon as they close those doors in the high roller suite the working girl would be all ” Ok so its $150 for 30mins $300 for the hour. Id imagine most of those guys would have pulled the insides of their pockets out and walked out with their heads down and a chub in their pants.

  • Screw this trash. On the other side of the country, in little ol’ Perth we have Mario Kart speed dating at 1up Microcinema once a month and it’s AWESOME.

  • to everyone complaining that the women are hookers and the event is dodgy,

    have you considered that some people actually enjoy casual meaningless social sex? or getting naked in public? your prudish comments are as personalised and insulting at the bull spouted by the ACL. just because someone does not conform to your personal values does not give you the right to demean their activities.

    PS, I’m relatively conservative. and enjoy my vanilla heterosexual monogamous relationship, but I support legal freedom of expression and beliefs, and intolerance begets intolerance. consider this while you demand an R18+ rating.

  • Smutty or not, I think it’s a shame complaints ruined for the people that were interested in going. If you’re not interested, or don’t like what you see, move on! It holds zero interest for me, but I think people should have the right to attend without do-gooders butting in…

    • Dude, as someone already mentioned, the people who probably did attend this event were most-likely nabbed from some brothel down the road. The majority of them shown in the video didn’t even look like real gamers.

      • “The majority of them shown in the video didn’t even look like real gamers.”

        Haha.. I like that line though… Didn’t look like real gamers… You mean glasses, flannel shirt, dribble running down their face??? Oh the irony!

  • I think this is a edgy idea by GAME and I say well done to them. Its clearly a way for them to promote their business and create a customer base who truly know the brand as those who are in touch with the young generation of gamers. I think it is sad that they have cancelled it.

    Ultimatly they have chased the bad publicity to gain market share and the fact that they were game enough to do so tells me that they are the edgy gaming retailer. To those who are offended by it, they can go to EB and play with their carrots because I know that I would have been so much more interested in shopping with GAME because they know what I want as a gamer and this is a social experience and a good time, not a chance to be all horny and try and pick up. You are all taking this way out of context.

    I say well done GAME, if you have started something like this I would not have realised how edgy you guys are and would have just considered you guys as another boring retailer like EB or JB. I totally support their way to accommodate the younger generation of gamers.

  • I’m amazed at the ignorance some people have and the high horse they put themselves on because a publicity event had ‘paid workers’ who showed some skin. If you don’t like it fine but sex sells and honestly it doesn’t make you a better person because you can comment that you’re above this. Faceless words are exactly what they are.

    BTW…what I thought of the night!

    My wife and her friends had a girls night in the big city while my programmer mate had scored some vip passes for the event. A group of 4 us went (1 single, 1 defacto and the other married). We had zero expectations or really understood what it was about. In the end, it was for publicity.

    We had a good time. We played games, had many laughs, drank and looked at some girls (traded nothing). Basically it’s want I’ve done all through my 20s and still do on the team bonding and bucks party nights. Well sadly, there’s normally a lot less gaming.

    It wasn’t hard to workout some girls had to be receiving payments for attending/performing but there was definitely gamers present, female and male, gaming couples and a couple sleazy guys who you always see acting shady in the clubs.

    I had a much better time then expected, the venue reminding me of my blurry night at Insertcoins LV where I also drank, played games with strangers and enjoyed myself. While playing a few games at the event I did meet people, talk games, life, work etc

    Some may have traded games, we took nothing but I sure nothing else was traded.

    I haven’t seen the video (now private) and douche from Big Brother is still a douche, but a paid douche. You don’t have to like him but unfortunately attention seekers do and I assume that’s all most have seen. We did see a camera and the same under wearing girls following close behind. But the only ‘provocative’ behaviour we witnessed was staged. It was advertised as an adults only event and was a publicity event, so go figure.

    I also don’t think complaints is the reasoning for the canceling of the other events. I just don’t think the money invested into it was worthwhile.

    Anyway, socialising with games works and it’s great to talk to people who share similar interests. If I was 10 years younger and this thing happened more local to me then I would likely attend again. It’s can be fun to relax, play games and admire some pretty girls with some mates. And if you don’t like it, then STFU.

    I don’t like Zelda games, Manchester United or the wife watching Neighbours 5 days a week. But I’m not going to bitch or judge because I don’t condone, understand or like it!

  • I work for the company and can agree that they like to play the immature male card quite a bit. Mainly because we sell products to immature male customers. But if HQ really took customers seriously, then why is Game TV still a thing? You lying assholes.

  • And to think they could’ve used that money to make more funny sketches i.e) the ezio ones. I thought GAMETV finally turned a corner but now this…bleurrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr

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