PLAYERUNKNOWN’S BATTLEGROUNDS. One of the hottest contenders for the most played games on Steam (or maybe, it is the most played game on Steam, sorry Valve!). There are several problems to the game, most of which are related to the performance, and due to its relative instability. However, those stuff are really understandable, as the game is an Early Access title, but they need to be fixed as quickly as possible, considering the huge playerbase. However, if performance issues are bothersome, the fact that the developers trust streamers and other influencers more than the average Joe playing their game is even more so.
The real question is – what is stream sniping? Well it is not really a unique concept, because it can occur in most games. Talk about my case, I once tried the same in Hearthstone, the only fact was the supposed streamer was online playing someone else, albeit in the same region. (except the fact that I only decided to check the stream to see whether I really faced the actual streamer or not.) Yes, the opponent was a fake, deciding that putting on the mask of a streamer will make me surrender easily. When you actually look into the streamer’s game, and draw some conclusions from it (like in Hearthstone, you can see the cards in his hand, or in PLAYERUNKNOWN’S BATTLEGROUNDS or in Counter Strike : Global Offensive, his location on the map) , and then actually use the same conclusions to take down the streamer – well, that is stream sniping. The real question is, when a streamer accuses you of stream sniping, on what basis do you think he does it? The possibilities other than stream sniping might be that I am playing exceptionally well (better than the streamer anyways), or simply using a hack to carry myself to a short-lived glory.
Stream sniping is a word that came into fashion when a PLAYERUNKNOWN’S BATTLEGROUNDS player called lotoe got banned on account of a popular streamer called shroud pointing at him. Shroud is a popular streamer and a professional Counter Strike : Global Offensive player for the esports team Cloud9, while lotoe was basically “just” a guy who likes to play video games, and who decided to give PLAYERUNKNOWN’S BATTLEGROUNDS a try. Who would be the one favored here? The answer is obvious. What’s surprising is that, even developers,instead of hearing out both parties, decided to take shroud favorably, instead of lotoe, and banned lotoe without even hearing his side of the story, in a case where shroud didn’t present any evidence, but only had to use the word “stream sniping” on his stream.
The link to the Twitch clip of shroud playing with Summit1G (another popular streamer) in a duo match, where they alleged that ApexZero and lotoe were stream sniping leads here :
It is obvious that PLAYERUNKNOWN’S BATTLEGROUNDS is a new game, a relatively new concept. No one ever used the concept of battle royale in video games before. If you try to welcome new streamers, especially ones who decided to jump ship from other games into PLAYERUNKNOWN’S BATTLEGROUNDS. Shroud’s popularity as a Counter Strike : Global Offensive player was widely known, and so is Summit1G (despite the fact that Team Mythic was not as highly rated as Cloud9 was in the competitive scene). Them deciding to play the “salt” card when they are killed in a game, and couldn’t get a “chicken dinner” is expected (after all, what is a Twitch stream without lots of salt?), but using it as an excuse to ban another guy without sufficient evidence, but rather force their popularity and their power as streamers on Bluehole to ban lotoe and ApexZero was a really bad move.
Summit1G had issued a statement, and as expected, its another melodrama where he asks why he shouldn’t react if something happens to him. Shroud had remained quiet on the issue, without issuing a statement that explains the accusations he had thrown at lotoe. The statement issued by Summit1G leads here :
Even Bluehole had issued a statement where they allege that lotoe and ApexZero were jumping lobbies just to guarantee kills. The statement can be seen here :
— PLAYER @ TWITCHCON (@PLAYERUNKNOWN) July 29, 2017
If lotoe and ApexZero decided to take the case further from social media to the law courts, I doubt Bluehole’s, or shroud’s or Summit1G’s statement would have made much difference, as there is no evidence,but only their “word” that points the accusatory finger, that suggests that they were stream sniping. However, a piece of doubt does linger on. What if they actually try to corrupt the judges by a show of their influence? No court is incorruptible. However, if justice would have prevailed, Bluehole would have been heavily penalized for biased behavior. A tweet where a player asks Community Manager Sammie Kang (aka poopieQueen) on Twitter about how they gather evidence against a “stream snipe” proves that they are indeed clueless about how to prove it, and only took the decision on the spur of the moment.
Our team have been looking into this specific issue and it will be addressed soon.
— Sammie Kang #PUBG (@poopieQueen) July 28, 2017
This means that Bluehole would have been in heavy legal troubles if a legal case was filed against them.
It is about time developers pay heed to ordinary players besides big social influencers or streamers. Considering streamers as the “representative” of the ordinary players is a flawed system, as in most cases, they would only make suggestions to the developers based on what they think is right and not the ordinary players at large. The lack of a dedicated competitive scene complicates things, as there are no professional players whose advice Bluehole can follow to mend their game. In fact, this should apply to all developers, not only Bluehole (Blizzard, are you listening?). Stream sniping is illegal, but there is no way to prove it, the only thing these streamers can do is forget about it, and try to beat the so called “stream snipers” at their own game. Let us not forget that players like shroud and Summit1G play better than a large portion of the playerbase. However, it also means that there will always be people who are better than them, so accusing the guy who kills you in a game of “stream sniping” as an excuse against the fact that there exists a better player than you, is one of the lamest excuses possible.
Bluehole, implement a fair banning system immediately. And let it be a lesson to all developers, to treat every player the same way, instead of showering preferential treatment on the elite and spitting down on the masses.
P.S. – We at Indiannoob do not support stream sniping, or any form of griefing in any game. The example cited in this article was done purely because Bluehole was reluctant to show concrete proof of lotoe and ApexZero entering and leaving shroud or Summit1G’s lobbies repeatedly just to have a shot at them. Any guy who is proved to be griefing beyond doubt should be banned immediately, and this article only points out how difficult it is to actually do that in a game like PLAYERUNKNOWN’S BATTLEGROUNDS.