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NPC streams – human gaming robots as a business model

2 minutes reading time
11-17 years
Social Media
Foto: pexels.com/MichelangeloBuonarroti

Is that a person – or a character from a computer game? NPC streamers imitate characters from games on camera and are paid by their fans to do so. This is sometimes an expensive pleasure for the users.

What does “NPC streaming” actually mean?

The term “NPC” may sound familiar to you: it is one of the top 10 youth words of 2023. NPCs originally stood for “Non Playable Characters”. They are marginal characters in computer games who are basically unimportant and therefore can hardly do anything. They often only have individual movements or reactions in their repertoire and thus appear absurdly robotic.

On TikTok it is precisely these rigid, short movements and utterances that become the attraction in so-called “NPC streams”. TikTokers initially sit motionless in front of the camera in the live stream. When viewers send them gifts in the form of colorful stickers, they react to them – again and again, always the same, with the same actions.

What do children and young people like about it?

What may sound boring at first, enjoys great popularity on TikTok and co. Children and young people enjoy watching the live streams and observing the digital NPCs. It is the same effect that “living statues” in the pedestrian zone have on us: The funny situation of people behaving like statues or game pieces. Plus the brief moment of shock and fun when the coin falls into the hat and the character suddenly starts making strange movements. Some people reach into their pockets and pull out a few coins.

What should parents pay attention to?

The problem with the digital version is that the stickers that are given away to TikTokers cost real money. Some more, some less. However, children and young people cannot buy the stickers individually, only in packs. These must be paid for by credit card or via the app store. Sometimes they are not even fully aware of these costs. A few funny pictures are quickly given away – and suddenly a lot of money is spent. Very successful streamers earn up to four-figure sums for an NPC appearance on TikTok.

It is therefore important for parents:

And once everything is clear and safe, you can simply enjoy a stream together with your child!

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