Popular streamer Tyler “Ninja” Blevins sparked a debate among his streamer friends today when he argued Epic Games “owes” their content creators protection from stream sniping.
Ninja was playing Fortnite alongside Ben “DrLupo” Lupo,
Tim “TimTheTatman” Betar, and Chance “MoNsTcR” Duncan, when the group was interrupted by a stream sniper. The conversation was then interrupted by a stream sniper confronting the group in the middle of a match.
“These guys won’t ever get banned either unless we go out of our way to tell Epic,” Ninja said. “That’s not how it should be.”
When his teammates attempted to change the subject, Ninja snapped back and pleaded to continue the conversation. When TimTheTatman asked how he would like to publicly address the issue, Ninja began with a rather simple question.
“First things first, do you guys feel like it should be up to us to get stream snipers banned?” Ninja asked. One by one, the others said they didn’t think it was their responsibility.
After some talking, though, TimTheTatman brought up a similar situation that occurred with another popular game.
“I guess the question is, is it just part of the job?” Tim said. “The difference is, haven’t there been games in the past that have taken action on it? The answer, yes, Overwatch banned a guy that was stream sniping emongg.”
The case he’s was referring to happened in 2017. Tim is correct in that Blizzard did ban a habitual sniper and griefer, albeit only after a high-profile Reddit post made the rounds and Tim himself commented on the issue.
Ninja then made what would turn out to be the most controversial statement of the entire exchange.
“I’m just gonna go out and say it,” Ninja said. “I feel like Fortnite owes it to their content creators, their streamers, to like, to try and protect them as we continue to broadcast the game to millions of people.”
His teammates recoiled at the word “owe,” with TimTheTatman saying he felt the word was a bit too “hard.” Despite Ninja backing down on his choice of “owe,” shortly after, DrLupo still didn’t agree with the sentiment.
“As a content creator that streams live with literally no delay, you’re gonna get stream sniped,” DrLupo said. “It’s just gonna happen. It’s part of the job.”
“Epic doesn’t ‘owe’ us anything,” he continued. “The game, you can say one way or another, but [Fortnite] was gonna get popular no matter what.”
DrLupo likened the situation to stand-up comedians dealing with hecklers. Ninja was quick to point out, though, that most comedians can get venue security to kick out hecklers upon their request. Ninja also added streamers have to go through more steps to get stream snipers removed than comedians have to when removing hecklers.
DrLupo then said he sometimes welcomes the interruption when the the snipers are “silly” and can be used as a short burst of content. Ninja very clearly disagreed.
“90 percent of the people are not being silly, they’re trying to kill you,” Ninja said. “I don’t think people should get in your games like that, if I had a say in it. I definitely understand it does create content, I get it. It’s like, ‘Haha, oh look at this guy gave me loot for the 80th time.”
DrLupo went on to explain that his opinion on stream snipers is likely different from Ninja’s because of their play style. While people watch Ninja for competitive gameplay, Lupo guessed the people watching his channel are there for fun and shenanigans. Therefore, stream sniping can’t negatively impact him nearly as much as it can Ninja because they have different objectives.
The conversation then turned to brainstorming about a hypothetical “stream sniper prevention,” system maintained by Epic that would add some automation to the process.
Ninja said it would need to be something creators manually consent to. Lupo suggested it could simply take notice of players that are repeatedly winding up in a creator’s lobby. The system would then give the creator the choice to have those suspicious players investigated by Epic. Should it be deemed malicious stream sniping, Lupo added, it would automatically prevent the creator and that player from ever being placed in the same lobby again.
After the squad claimed the Victory Royale off of a lucky quickscope, Tim added some more of his thoughts to the conversation.
“For me, personally, it frustrates me when I die, but when I kill them I don’t care,” Tim said. “But when I die, it frustrates me, but I get over it really fast. I’m like, ‘whatever.'”
The conversation finally moved off of the stream sniping topic as the next match began, but there was certainly enough said to give viewers a lot to think about.
Stream sniping has become a hot topic with the rise of battle royale players on Twitch in the last several years. If there is an effective solution to the dilemma, it hasn’t been identified yet. But perhaps the system these streamers talked about could be something for Epic to work on.