A Discord server in Japan looking to facilitate matches for Valorant and Apex Legends players was deleted on September 28. The server’s name contained the Japanese word “合コン(goukon)” which is a kind of party for singles to meet and find dates. Perhaps due to its sensational name, the server was even trending on Twitter in Japan.
Once the server was created
A Discord server called “VALORANT APEX合コンサーバー (Goukon Server)” quickly became a hot topic among gamers in Japan. It appears that the server itself already existed as of September 26, and the server’s administrator began recruiting members on Twitter by posting an image with the message, “Find boyfriends, girlfriends, and party members.”
While the aim was for users to play games like Valorant and Apex Legends, there was an obvious implication that it was a place for matchmaking (the love kind, not the game kind). It even had a logo reminiscent of what you might see on a dating app.
Once created, members began to gradually increase, exceeding 3,000 members at 7:00 p.m. on September 27 (JST). It went on to exceed 5,000 members in the next hour and showed no signs of slowing down. Judging by the impressions on social media, it looks like many users were enjoying simply interacting with other players.
But not everyone was there to meet others as some trolls found their way into the mix, and with the rapid increase in members, chaos started to break out. During this time, users began reporting that they were being banned for messages and conduct that go against the server’s policies as others started divulging the server’s internal affairs.
Because of so many people finding out about the server all at once, “VALORANT APEX合コンサーバー” started trending on Twitter in Japan on September 28 (JST). However, at 3:00 p.m. that same day the server’s policies suddenly changed.
In addition to not allowing users under 18, it stated that the server wasn’t for online dating and that seeking dates was against the rules (a cached tweet that was deleted by the server’s administrator). The server was to only be used for finding parties to play with, meaning it wasn’t any different from other game servers.
The server’s name also changed to “FPSなど ゲーム 合コン（ペテティブ）サーバー (FPS etc. Game Goukon (petitive) Server.” The name makes a play on words between the word “Goukon” and “Competitive,” likely a nod to Valorant’s ranked mode, but as mentioned above, seeking romantic partners on the server was prohibited. Despite this, members had their grievances with the word “Goukon” still being used in the name and expressed their dissatisfaction with the sudden rule change on Twitter.
And then, at around 5:00 p.m. that same day, the server was deleted. The administrator of the server has also deleted their Twitter account, but the reason for the deletions hasn’t been revealed as of this writing.
The tribulations of a dating server
So what was it like on the VALORANT APEX Goukon Server? From what users are saying, there were players for Valorant, Apex Legends, and other games like Gundam Evolution, Splatoon 3, and Mahjong Soul, and they would simply play and discuss the games. But like many singles meetups in Japan, the male to female ratio skewed toward a lot of guys and only a few women.
It sounds like the voice chat was also packed with people, making conversation difficult, and some were getting carried away and posting wild messages. However, users did say it served its purpose as a place to communicate, though it’s uncertain if they were able to actually find dates or meet someone.
As mentioned earlier, the server became very chaotic and was deleted. While looking for members, the administrator of the server said they would close entries if too many people joined. While it’s uncertain how many people they were expecting, thousands of users did join the server, so it’s possible that they deleted it because it was too much to handle. And with the rules changing to not allow users under 18 or finding partners while keeping “Goukon” in the name, we can see that server policies weren’t set in stone either.
The server’s administrator stated that they wanted to find friends to play games with and that led to creating the server. However, it’s clear that preparation and management were insufficient for running a community focused on finding romantic partners.
In addition to rules against harassment, hate speech, and threats, the Discord Community Guidelines include rules to protect children from being sexualized. Allowing things to go unchecked could have led to big issues and shows the risk involved when dealing with something meant to facilitate romantic encounters. Making a place for people to meet is easy, but it comes with the responsibility to manage it.
Finding partners through gaming isn’t a bad thing
While this server isn’t the best example of how to meet people, there are gamers who have found love and even gotten married through games which is great. These days, it’s not rare to hear about players meeting while playing a game and eventually falling in love. There are even examples of real-world weddings in Japan based on Final Fantasy XIV’s Ceremony of Eternal Bonding in collaboration with Square Enix, the game’s developer.
While the VALORANT APEX Goukon Server was deleted, a new “Goukon” server has been created in its place. Whether it’s being operated by the same person as the deleted server is unknown. Additionally, once word started to spread about the server, singles matching servers for other games like League of Legends were created as well. While these servers are free to operate as they please, hopefully they learned some lessons about the risks involved in running such a server from the ill-fated VALORANT APEX Goukon Server.
Written by. Nick Mosier based on the original Japanese article (original article’s publication date: 2022-09-29 15:54 JST)