You know, "game," the use of signaling tactics to persuade, nudge, or trick a woman into treating you like a higher status male than otherwise would be the case.
Let's assume that game advocates are correct that, at current margins, "game" can yield the individual gamer higher returns without having to pay an offsetting price in terms of greater expense, less pleasant conquests, etc. and thus game is a net gain for the individual practitioner. Maybe not, but let's say.
Let's also say that any particular game tactic won't work on all women, even if you think that some form of game will succeed, if you know enough about the woman or have good enough intuition. In other words, you have to pick a strategy and aim at a sector but can't target all types of women at the same time. I don't think it's unfair to ask for that assumption back in return.
Why am I suddenly thinking about the tragedy of the commons and the Harberger corporate taxation model?
If there is no price mechanism to choke off the returns from game, the implied result is the crowding of men around each group of game-ready women. Over time, the average returns of game are competed down to…by the typical equalization assumption…the returns of non-game.
Which men end up better off? Ask: would you rather "buy" in a market where there is an equilibrating price, or in a market where there is no price but lots of crowding? Men with a relatively high tolerance of queuing should prefer the market without a price, namely the gaming scene. In the markets with prices, you can be pretty sure you get what you most prefer, that is by paying the price. (I'm not talking about prostitution, I'm talking about broader mating markets where you have to be something or give something to get something.) Non-gamers therefore dislike queuing, know what they want, and recognize the trade-offs in succeeding.
Oddly, gamers themselves might be better off if game "worked" by spending a lot of money buying women drinks (this seems not to be the case). It would then return to being a market with an equilibrating price, which is maybe where it is headed anyway.
If circumstances exogenously shift an extra man into "game," who loses? The other men playing game, who now have higher queuing costs. Who gains? The non-gaming men who pursue the women who have been abandoned by the new, marginal gamers.
There are comparable propositions about free roads and toll roads. Let's say you have a pay road and a free road, covering the same route. Usually the move toward a social optimum involves a tax on the free road. In other words, social norms against game benefit the practitioners of game by limiting crowding. In contrast, spreading publicity about the potency of game benefits the non-gaming men.
If gamers are disillusioned romantics, the women who are courted by sensitive romantics also lose when there is a shift of male effort into game. Those women now find there are fewer bids of truly romantic interest. Consistently romantic men, who do not grow disillusioned and shift into game, will gain through superior selection and more favorable terms of trade.