For weeks, one of the most popular PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds streamers, Grimmmz, has been getting tormented not with guns or frying pans, but with car horns. Yesterday, some players gloated about "stream honking" him and posted a video as proof. Upon seeing this, Grimmmz lost his cool and got the video taken down. He quickly came to regret that decision.
A few weeks ago, PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds added car horns. Mere hours later, trolls switched from stream sniping — that is, joining the same matches as popular players and watching their streams to gain an upper hand — to following streamers around in cars and incessantly honking at them. Unlike stream sniping, it wasn't explicitly against PUBG's rules. It was pretty funny for five minutes or so. Then it became a serious annoyance to bigtime PUBG streamers such as Dr Disrespect and Grimmmz, who had stream honkers constantly buzzing around them like deafeningly loud flies.
While Disrespect has mostly taken to hunting down and blasting so-called "stream honkers" and then, er, flicking his tongue suggestively like some kind of mustachioed sex snake, Grimmmz hasn't been taking it so well. Yesterday, it all came to a head when YouTube channel Visceral Art Gaming posted a video in which they repeatedly stream honked both of the popular streamers, among others. Snippets of the video were from their perspective, but much of the footage was lifted directly from Dr Disrespect and Grimmmz's streams. It wasn't long before Grimmmz got the video taken off YouTube with a copyright claim.
This action seems to have burst the dam holding back the PUBG community's pent-up rage, which has been building ever since a player got banned from the game for allegedly stream sniping another popular streamer, Shroud. Many feel like streamers expose themselves to this kind of treatment by virtue of what they do and should be prepared to deal with the consequences, rather than make a fuss about it and potentially get people (who might not even be stream sniping) banned.
Suddenly, here was Grimmmz, escalating things even further while arguably misusing copyright claims, which is a huge no-no in the YouTube community. Irate threads flooded the front page of the PUBG subreddit, and YouTubers such as Totalbiscuit and H3H3's Ethan Klein voiced their disapproval.
With the rage deluge showing no sign of letting up, Grimmmz capitulated: In a TwitLonger post, he apologised and said that now even he thought he did the wrong thing, given the situation.
"I snapped," he wrote. "At that point I was at the peak of my frustration, and I didn't know what else to do but to hurt them back. Hurt the people that decided it was okay to try to fuck with me on a daily basis, to try to take something away from THEM as they took away from my good vibes from me and my chat. My judgement was clouded and it was just a warpath at that point."
Grimmmz added that this came after weeks of harassment from stream snipers and honkers, up to and including messages outside the game:
"I'm against this sort of behaviour, and I don't have an excuse for it," Grimmmz wrote. "It was plain wrong, and I can understand if it changed your view about me." He rescinded the copyright claim, and the stream honking video has been reinstated on YouTube.
Since then, however, fans on Reddit and Twitch have been debating exactly how prominent streamers should handle stream honking and/or sniping. Many claim that they have little love for stream snipers, who get their jollies from other people's misery, but they don't think it should be a bannable or directly punishable offence, as it's hard to judge when someone is or isn't stream sniping. From their point of view, the solution is simple: Streamers just need to set a delay of about a minute or two on their streams so that viewers can't see what they're actually up to. That way, stream snipers can't track down their exact position, and streamers will have probably moved on before stream snipers get there.
But Grimmmz explained in his TwitLonger that for him, it's a no-win situation. "20-30 seconds [of delay] isn't enough to deter these types of players from a slow game of PUBG, and 2-3 minutes would demolish community interaction," he said, noting that he's had people come into his chat after bad break-ups and things of that nature, making it feel like "my own family on Twitch".
The debate rages on, and it's highly unlikely that this high-profile stream sniping incident will be the last.