Apparently, fame can have disadvantages even for streamers, with Fortnite star Ninja raging over being stream sniped several times in a row. The multimillionaire internet personality whose career was catapulted thanks to Fortnite might be quitting the game altogether. He hasn’t been seen playing Epic Games’ hit since February 5th, and right now it does not seem the situation will change in March.
What is stream sniping?
It’s not too much to say stream sniping is a form of cheating, one that is very hard to avoid if you are broadcasting games. It is nothing more than watching the stream of someone you are playing against and using the acquired information against that person – the current position, map tendencies, movement, tactics, etc. People do it for different reasons, some just draw satisfaction from defeating a celebrity and being able to share the clip with friends, some want to force a reaction from the streamer and see him or her rage. In any case, such behavior takes away a lot of fun from gaming from both streamers and those viewing the broadcast, and an uncontrolled rage can end up in a ban for a streamer if emotions get out of hand. Competitive gaming can already be a stressful experience sometimes.
Ninja under fire
It’s not Ninja’s first encounter with stream sniping. In his angry rant, he highlights his experience in other games, such as H1Z1 and PUBG – “I know what it is. I know the signs. I’ve seen this before”. The streamer says that people who do this hurt the game, and he’s not wrong. Similarly to him, people will quit playing their favorite games if fun repeatedly turns into frustration, but in the case of Ninja and Fortnite not much may actually change. Ninja is already a very wealthy man, with a community that consists of people following him not so much for the game as for his personality and the entertainment he provides. That’s one of the reasons he was acquired by Mixer for a short time at some point in his career. Fortnite is established as the dominating battle royale title, and despite an increasing number of companies other than Epic Games wanting a piece of the pie, Ninja’s departure from the game will hardly have a significant impact on the decline in its popularity. However, the situation for less popular streamers and games can be more difficult. Imagine having established a small community after being dedicated to a single game. Quitting this game could lead to losing the community. That said, stream sniping seems more likely to affect popular streamers.
Ninja is not the only famous internet personality to get stream sniped, nor is Fortnite the only popular competitive title to suffer from the issue. Not long ago, Shroud, who is a very good FPS player, had to face the same problem in Valorant and made bitter comments after losing a match. Not long after, he wrote a tweet suggesting Riot Games to introduce a special streaming mode to help solve the issue. Stream sniping is also a huge problem, e.g., for Hearthstone players, as the information that is revealed gives a huge advantage to the viewer.
Preventing stream sniping
There are a number of ways to help alleviate the problem, if not eliminate it completely. Twitch has a stream delay option that makes it impossible to pinpoint the exact location of a streamer as the transmission is broadcasted a few seconds later. Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War has a feature that hides information about game matchmaking. Some streamers play their games using different nicknames to avoid identification.
With the increasing popularity of streaming platforms and with how easy it is to start broadcasting our favorite games, stream sniping is quickly becoming a growing problem for both new and established streamers. Fortunately, developers are aware of the issue and it will be interesting to see what solutions they will find in future titles. After all, they wouldn’t want the next Ninja permanently quitting their recently released game.