Last month, a 35-year-old home video game fanatic and Twitch.tv streamer named Brian Vigneault had been playing the game World of Tanks when, after taking a smoke following 22 straight hours at the computer, he collapsed and died near his Virginia Beach home.
Vigneault was attempting a marathon stream for charity on the website Twitch.tv, broadcasting his gameplay and contributing his proceeds to the Make-a-Wish Foundation. He was well known on the site for spending upwards of 20 hours multiple days a week, causing his death to ignite debate over the stresses that lifestyle can put on a person’s body and mind.
Many Twitch personalities commonly play and stream for over twelve hours a day, while charity events such as Vigneault’s, popular game releases, encouragement from the site’s chat feature (which allows any of the hundreds of thousands of spectators on the site to talk with the streamer/spectators) and simple economics can lead some to play for longer.
There have been some reports of gamers around the world dying during or after long game streaming sessions, however those reports hardly discourage the ever-growing population of full-time streamers. These long periods with little sleep might result in exhaustion and cardiovascular problems, as was likely with Vigneault. For streamers who are making their livelihoods playing games online, finding the line between successful and excessive can be difficult. Check out this Kotaku article to read more about how streamers find that balance.