The Drunk Stream Phenomenon

January 2, 2017 - Esports

With live streaming of popular computer games, like Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, League of Legends, Dota 2 or Overwatch being one of the better ways to make money by gaming, at least for the players who can actually attract and keep an audience, it is no wonders that streamers are looking for ways to maximize their income. Drunk streaming has been established as one of the more effective ways to make a quick buck. Unfortunately, even though the rewards are great, the cost can also be steep. Let’s talk about this subject.

It’s easy to figure out what drunk streams are. A guy (or girl, let’s not be sexist) gets sloshed and plays a game, streaming it live. Unless the streamer is literally unknown, the word that streamer so and so is doing a drunk stream soon spreads. A horde of people goes to watch, laughing at the streamer’s shenanigans, clapping their hands as he (or she) makes a fool out of themselves. Thousands upon thousands of people come to watch if the streamer is well-known in the community. Usually, the audience the drunk stream has gets much bigger than the typical number of viewers for a regular stream.

Why would a serious streamer do something like this? Why would he act like a total idiot, probably damaging his brand? The answer, like many things in life, is simple—money. You see, with thousands above thousands of people watching, some of them donate. Amounts vary, but drunk streams earn more than a normal run of the mill stream would have. It’s like watching a railroad track, knowing that there is going to be an inevitable train crash. People can’t help themselves, they donate, donate and donate, indirectly feeding the beast, making the streamer drink more, act more outrageously.

While people are welcome to do whatever they want to do to earn easy cash, it shouldn’t influence other people in a negative way. Unfortunately, that’s not what happens. Usually, once the streamer gets drunk enough, all sense leaves him and he starts feeding, intentionally or not, all under the banner of “Hey, I’m drunk.” Sure, it might be fun to watch, but what about the people who queued for a game with serious intentions? Unless the one who’s doing the drunk stream gets four more friends to play with him, who gave him permission to act like a damn idiot and ruin other people’s games? Nobody did.

That’s not how most people see it, however. The idea behind the whole thing that gets broadcast to everyone who watches is that you can feed with no consequences when you’re drunk, you can make an ass out of yourself. That should NOT be the case, however. Drunkenness is not an extenuating circumstance. It’s the opposite.

Finally, the whole thing reeks of a double standard, where a player who does the drunk stream and ends up ruining games for the people who got unintentionally matched to play on his team, while also representing Riot Games as a substitute member of an LCS team is allowed to go without consequences, even though he publicly spoke out against a guy who, admittedly, did the same thing, only sober, over and over again and got banned. Is it somehow okay to do toxic things you don’t normally do because you’re drunk? It is not.