Just before he fell asleep on Twitch, streamer Matthew "Mizkif" Rinaudo thought about how pissed his mother would be if he told her he'd made money sleeping.
"She thinks I'm not doing anything now," Rinaudo joked to his live viewers. "Wait until she finds out that I literally slept and made money."
Rinaudo activated a bot that allowed viewers to submit videos when they donated money and went to bed. The clips were played at the top right of the screen, while Rinaudo took up most of the display on his back or side. Many hours and a lot of prickly videos later he woke up by $ 5,600. To show that he wasn't blind to how the whole stunt came about, Rinaudo gave one of his customers a Nintendo Switch.
The latest trend in Twitch streaming is literally sleeping. That's it. For the past few weeks, streamers have been training their cameras on their mattresses while falling asleep. In the intervening hours, viewers use Twitch's donation feature to give them small amounts of money – two dollars here, five dollars there. A few streamers sweetly call them "pajama parties".
"I assume it's time to get ready on the bed bed bed bed bed bed goodbye," said Twitch Streamer and model Kaitlyn "Amouranth" Siragusa. It was six in the morning and she'd spent hours scratching quietly and whispering into her microphone to get an ASMR stream of cozy piano music. In the chat there was an outpour of "good night", "sleep well" and "good night". Siragusa encouraged her fans to donate and subscribe; Every 20 subscriptions pushed their alarm back for another hour. Then she played with ambient noise and went to bed.
In the chat that accompanied the stream, a viewer asked, "Do people actually watch them sleep all night?" Another replied, “I want to see her sleep every night. I'm in love with her. "
Siragusa woke up eight hours later, dressed, and recorded her Twitch stream with a marble racing game.
Kacey "Kaceytron" Caviness says she had the idea of going to bed on a camping trip a few months ago when she decided to leave the camera on and wake up with nearly 2,000 live viewers. "I think it will be more exciting for the viewers to try to wake me up in the morning," she says. Most sleepover streams allow viewers to donate money to a streamer to have a text-to-speech bot read a message aloud. "It makes really good income for me." Kaviness says that her viewers also enjoy hearing their last thoughts when she falls asleep.
When Caviness slept live in front of the camera in a motorhome earlier this week, stoned and on a camping trip with her dog, lingering spectators trolled her with absurd text-to-speech messages: "My sprinkler goes like thistststststststststststst," read a British computer voice according to ad nauseum. "Then it comes back like tttttttttttttttttttt." Two dollar donations went into it. Caviness started to snore.
Although sleep flows are now back in fashion, perhaps the most famous instance took place in 2017. A video titled "HOW I EARN $ 5,000 IN SLEEPING FOR 8 HOURS" watched by 3.8 million people shows infamous Prankster and former Twitch streamer Paul "Ice Poseidon" Denino does just that. The audience was enough Donate along with the sounds of gunshots, door knocks and dubstep plays of bagpipe music. Denino occasionally woke up and threw a pillow at the camera or chewed his audience. The game's legendary speed runner, Narcissa Wright, has streamed a short break to recharge, but says she has had issues with Twitch in the past. "It was innocent and I just didn't want the stream to end," she says. When asked whether sleep flows are becoming a trend, Wright says she feels "a little bit confirmed".
Siragusa-style sleep flows are more likely to come from ASMR videos or Japanese cuddle bars where customers pay hourly fees to feel comfortable with someone they've never met. Twitch's talk-only category, unlike games, has recently gained popularity, partly because thousands of viewers yearn for parasocial interaction at all times. The permanent appeal of Twitch is its interactive element, which brings fans – at least digitally – closer to the objects of their fandom than ever before. When you watch a streamer sleep and maybe stand next to him, you feel less alone. The trend has also spread beyond Twitch. Prominent TikTokers have also recently adopted nighttime streams.
Aside from humor or intimacy, Twitch streamers sometimes fall asleep in front of the camera for an obvious reason: they're tired. Occasionally, after an entire day of play, they take an unplanned nap and entertain thousands of people alertly. Thousands of people watched a World of Warcraft streamer pass by Asmon Gold taking a nap while waiting for World of Warcraft Classic servers to log on. Last year, a Hearthstone streamer took an unplanned nap and woken up to 200 live viewers.
Despite the glamor that comes with playing video games, successful Twitch streamers remain relevant and well paid if they stay online for as long as possible. It's not as magical as it sounds. Top Fortnite streamer Tyler "Ninja" Blevins once complained that he was offline for 48 hours and lost 40,000 Twitch subscribers. One result of this is marathon streaming, a dangerous and widespread practice in which Twitch streamers play live for days to capture each time zone and expose themselves as much as possible.
"Most streams can be very dry," says Rinaudo. “This stream was the opposite. It was very easy. To be honest, it was a nice break from my normal routine playing games all day. "
Before drifting in front of the camera, Rinaudo admitted to his viewers that he was struggling with fear. It had put a heavy strain on his sleep. "We make a sleep stream; one and only one, "he said." They were here. I am tired. I'm hardly here. I need a nap. So I'll go to sleep. I had a very long day. "
This story originally appeared on wired.com.