Stream sniping describes the disruption of a gaming live stream on a streaming platform, like Twitch or YouTube. A stream sniper watches the live stream to find the streamer in an online video game and interferes with their gameplay to get on their stream. Players may also stream snipe for a strategic advantage in a competitive game. After discovering someone's streaming profile while playing against them, they can use their perspective from the stream to cheat in the game.
Stream sniping is frowned upon by the online gaming community. Many large streamers use alternate usernames in-game to avoid being discovered.
How to prevent stream sniping
Unfortunately, if an individual is determined enough, it can be difficult to prevent stream sniping completely. However, the following suggestions help prevent stream sniping by making it more difficult.
Hide portions of your screen
Hide portions of your screen, specifically the UI (user interface) that may give away important information. Depending on the game, some components of the UI can be hidden or obscured. Below are a few recommendations of information to hide from your stream.
- Hide the mini-map that shows your exact location.
- Hide your character's name.
- Hide the name of the game server you join.
- Hide in-game chat that may show what people are saying to you.
There are also some streaming capture programs that blur parts of your screen to hide information that could give away your location in a game.
Another option is to create an overlay to conceal specific areas of the screen. For example, some streamers position their advertisements over their game tag or their opponent's game tag to conceal those in-game identities. Some MOBA (multiplayer online battle arena) players use a custom overlay that obscures only the parts of the mini-map (such as lanes or jungle paths) where players are located. Combined with a stream delay, snipers cannot know where the stream's team is currently positioned.
Delay your stream
If you're playing a competitive game (e.g., shooter game), when streaming, you give away your position, life, ammo, and other vital information that makes it easier for others to kill you. Streaming services like Twitch can delay your stream by 1 to 15 minutes.
Don't feed the trolls
People stream snipe because they're looking for attention. Like any troll on the Internet, the easiest and often most effective method is not acknowledging them. By ignoring their actions, most people get bored and stop.
Report the player to the game developer
Stream sniping is a form of cheating, but it can be difficult to prove. If you have undeniable evidence that a player is cheating (e.g., they're streaming themselves stream sniping you), then report them to the game developer. Depending on the game developer, they may suspend or ban the player for their actions.
Also, if the game lets you block other players, you can block them from joining your future games.