You wouldn’t have thought that someone who plays videogames for a living and makes money from it could be a target for abuse, but the world of livestreaming can be a surprisingly perilous place. Stream sniping can make a livestreamer’s attempts to play a game extremely aggravating, but by far the most terrifying thing that can happen to a streamer is being swatted – as the Fortnite world champ discovered last night.
If you’re not aware of the term, “swatting” is the term for the rather vicious and dangerous act of actually calling the police on a streamer while they’re playing a game live – usually with some terrifying made-up accusation that causes the cops to turn up in force and highly armed.
This is what happened to 16-year-old Fortnite World Champ Kyle “Bugha” Giersdorf on his stream last night. Since winning the Fortnite tournament and walking away with an amazing $3 million (£2.4 million), Bugha has already faced hackers targeting his social media accounts – but this is the first (and hopefully only) time he’s been swatted.
As spotted by Kotaku, Bugha was streaming (what else) Fortnite live on Twitch last night, when his father entered the room and told him about the armed police at the door. His teammates were rather shocked to see the champ suddenly disappear and go AFK right at the end of a match – but he returned after 10 minutes. “I got swatted,” he explained simply.
Burga adds that he was lucky, as apparently one of the officers on call for the incident lived in his local neighbourhood and recognised him. Which was extremely lucky, as Burga adds that they pulled up with guns ready.
Swatting is one of the most horrifying and dangerous things that can befall a streamer, and not all incidents like this can end as fortunately as it did for Kyle Giersdorf. A swatting over a Call of Duty game in 2017 ended with the streamer being shot and killed by police, and the person who called the swatting being given a 20-year prison sentence.