Stream sniping, also known as ‘ghosting’ or ‘stream spying’ is a very new cheating method in video games that came into being with the advent of live streaming video games on platforms such as Twitch, YouTube and other video on demand and video streaming services: A ‘stream sniper’ will basically use a stream as an ESP (extrasensory perception) cheat to get information in the enemy team/player, will use the stream to queue into the streamer and get other unfair advantages.
How it works
Stream sniping as a cheating method can be used in basically any online multiplayer game to get advantages, troll, grief and otherwise use the advanced information from simultaneously playing the game and watching a players gaming live stream to one’s advantage.
Stream sniping is most effective in card games, team-based shooters and MOBAs, strategy games, battle royale games and similar. The technique is less effective in MMORPGs, normal FPS games, sports games ect. However, overall stream sniping is quite a significant problem for any streamer of any significant notoriety, as they are extremely likely to get recognized by their player names and will generally get stream sniped daily.
While most stream snipers are out for attention and trolling a streamer, streamers playing at the highest level of a competitive game will run into actual cheaters very often that will use their stream to gain actual competitive advantages and improve their win rates and performance.
While almost all counter-measures to keep stream snipers at bay will make a stream less interactive and less fun, form many streamers the application of stream delays, censoring of on-screen information, changing user names and similar methods are well worth the small hit from a slightly poorer viewer experience. Taking all possible counter-measures also allows a streamer to be less paranoid about stream snipers, as they do not constantly watch their back and question if every single opponent may or may not be watching their stream.
However, some streamer have also made careers by interacting with their community in this way, even encouraging people to join their games and stream snipe them, troll them, stalk them in-game and have done quite well using stream sniping as a way to make their communities more interactive.
Stream Sniping as a Game Hack
With live streaming of video games becoming ever more accessible and popular, this Game Hack or game cheat is here to stay and will only become more of an issue in the future, especially at the higher skill levels where there will be a significant portion of players that are constantly streaming all of their game play for financial reasons. So this game cheating method is here to stay for as long as online gaming will be a thing.
Overall, while getting stream-sniped is certainly an unpleasant experience, extremely annoying and unfair, it may just be a side effect of eFame, being a famous member of any gaming community, just like celebrities have to deal with the positive and negative side-effects of their fame in the real world. Luckily there are counter-measures that work and come at a low cost, with the exception of extremely slow-paces online game, of which there are not too many.
Can a Players Game Account get banned for Stream Sniping?
Yes and no, it depends on a games terms of service. Of course a game developer will generally reserve the right to Ban any player for any reason, so reporting players for stream sniping is always recommended, even if the ToS do not explicitly mention stream snipers as such. As the cheating activity got streamed and will usually be recorded somewhere, the evidence or proof of such game hacking and cheating activity will not be hard to come by either.
Do Steam Snipers have ‘No Life’?
Yes, this is correct and this has been shown in multiple peer-reviewed studies and meta-analysis. It is therefore true and anyone who doubts it is a science-denier, anti-waxxer, climate-denier, probably a homophobe racist and just generally a bad, bad person.
Sources / References