Stream sniping: What’s behind it?

by Corinna

Stream sniping occurs again and again in livestreams and can become a nuisance for the streamer concerned, as negative intentions are often hidden behind the term.

This is what the term Stream Sniping means

Stream sniping takes place in the context of livestreams on platforms such as or YouTube. Viewers who engage in stream sniping often pursue negative intentions with the practice and cause frustration for the streamer and their community through their behaviour.

  • The term stream sniping refers to the intention of targeting streamers by passing them by, for example in competitive multiplayer games, and gaining an advantage through the gameplay shown in the livestream.
  • The terms Stream Sniping or Stream Sniper were chosen because their behaviour mirrors that of a sniper. Stream snipers watch the stream while playing against the livestreamer and wait for the right moment to strike.
  • Stream Snipers thus have information that they would not have in a normal match. They know where the streamer and his team members are at the moment and also learn about any strategies the opposing team is planning. Since Stream Snipers do not use cheat software, it is difficult to punish the behaviour.

These types of stream sniping exist

In fact, there is not always malicious intent behind every type of stream sniping. However, these interactions also have a negative impact on the stream.

  • The motivations behind stream sniping vary from person to person. If the person has negative intentions, they may be trying to troll the streamer by disrupting the gameplay. This can look like the sniper actively trying to join the streamer’s lobby, only to end up on the opposing team and gaining unfair advantages by watching the stream in parallel.
  • Similarly, the person may try to end up on the streamer’s team in order to sabotage it by spamming the voice chat or causing the streamer to lose the match by deliberately misbehaving in the game.
  • “Well-intentioned” stream sniping is also frequently practised. This involves fans of the streamer who simply want to play along with that person. While these stream snipers are not intentionally trying to negatively influence the gameplay, they still ensure that other viewers may be made aware of the concept of stream sniping and motivated to do the same.
  • While stream sniping itself seems harmless at first, it can unfortunately also quickly take on unpleasant traits, as one has to ask oneself, especially in the case of repeat offenders, whether the whole thing is not already bordering on cyberstalking.
  • Overwhelmingly, stream sniping takes place digitally and in the context of video games, but there are also cases of the practice in so-called IRL streams. IRL means “in real life” and refers to live streams that take place outside of the streamer’s own four walls. In comparison to online stream sniping, this involves people looking for the streamer in public and disrupting the livestream in various ways.

These measures help with stream sniping

There are some precautions and measures that protect against stream sniping or make it harder for stream snipers to troll the streamer.

  • Meanwhile, many game developers have provided options to protect against stream sniping. In games like Valorant, Overwatch 2 or Fortnite, there is the option to anonymise the player name. In Valorant, for example, it is also possible to hide other player names. In this way, the players of both teams receive the names of the agent they are currently playing.
  • In most online games there is also the option to disable text chat. Often stream snipers use text chat to find out if they are in the same match as the streamer, as the text message is also shown in the stream a few seconds later.
  • In addition to measures built into matches, streamers can also take precautions themselves to avoid being sniped. Before you sign up for a match, it is advisable to hide the screen so that viewers do not see exactly when you started the queue. If you want to be on the safe side, you can also mute the sound of the game for a short time so that, for example, button clicks are not audible.
  • During the game, it is also advisable to make important information providers such as the map unrecognisable, for example by placing a graphic in OBS on the scene or placing the webcam feed in this location.
  • Although it is tempting to confront stream snipers during the stream and make your displeasure known, it is more advisable not to dignify them with a response in the first place. The reason for this is that many snipers want to attract attention and force a reaction from the streamer. If you as a streamer respond to them and give them this attention, the trolls have achieved their goal.
  • Another way to limit stream snipers in what they do is to use the delay function on livestreaming platforms such as Twitch and YouTube. This feature allows you to add a delay before the stream begins, which means viewers don’t see the action until a few seconds after it happens. This way, the gameplay shown in the stream is no longer up-to-date and the snipers have a harder time.

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