At around 2 p.m. on Sunday, Ludwig Ahgren, a Twitch streamer in Los Angeles, turned on her camera and started streaming. He hasn’t stopped yet.
Over the past five days, Mr. Ahgren has maintained an almost continuous stream of his life. He plays video games, chats, cooks, eats and sleeps, all of which are streamed online. In the evenings, he holds movie nights with his audience. Mr. Ahgren lives with his 5 roommates and girlfriends, and some of them also act on cameraman, helping him cook or exercise together.
He’s even spontaneous in the bathroom (with shorts on).
All of this is part of what is known on Twitch as a “subathon.” A subathon is a short period of time when a streamer engages in certain activities or stunts in order to accumulate paid subscriptions for his channel. Some live streamers set a numerical goal. For example, if they reach 2,000 new subscribers, they’ll eat something spicy in front of the camera or play a specific fan game.
Mr. Ahgren, 25, structured his subathon so that each new subscription adds an additional 10 seconds to the watch indicating how long he will be streaming. When Ahgren set things up this way, he imagined he would stream for up to 24 hours, possibly 48. Five days later, his sub stream exploded and became the top stream on Twitch, attracting tens of thousands of new sign-ups daily as fans pay to see how long he can go. He has gained over 40,000 new sign-ups since he started streaming.
“The weirdest thing is that every time I wake up it feels like it’s getting bigger,” Mr. Ahgren said. “Last night, I went to bed with 30,000 viewers and 60,000 subscribers. I woke up and I had 70,000 viewers and 70,000 subscribers. “
That’s because when Mr. Ahgren slept, an army of fans worked overtime to maximize his subscriber base. They chat and stream YouTube clips and videos to each other to keep the channel entertained. Mr. Ahgren’s name has been trending on Twitter twice in the past week, both times while he is sleeping.
“At night, the rest of us will make his content for him,” said a 21-year-old college student passing by Happygate and acting as one of Mr. Ahgren’s moderators. . “We try to keep people excited and highly motivated to see this continue for as long as possible.”
Stephen Seaver, 15, a high school student in Georgia, said: “The streams of sleep are really fun. “Basically what happens is his mod” – short for moderator – “takes Discord calls and they’re calling and talking all the time, making them insane about signing up. The idea is funny, while he was sleeping, the timer goes up.
Sleep information streams gained popularity during the pandemic on Twitch and TikTok, where fans say they prefer communities that pop up at night where sleep streams facilitate. Creators like them because they can literally make money while sleeping.
“I fell asleep on the stream last night and became Twitch’s most watched streamers,” Mr. Ahgren tweeted in Monday. “What the hell is even that.” At the end of Monday evening, Twitch wished Mr. Ahgren “Good nightFrom its official Twitter account.
Twitch, owned by Amazon since 2014, has seen a rapid increase in popularity over the past year or so. The site has expanded from a place where players can stream their Fortnite and Call of Duty games to a broader platform that includes lifestyle, cooking, and politics streams. The coronavirus pandemic accelerated that growth as people stuck at home searching for entertainment online.
Erin Wayne, head of community marketing and creator at Twitch, says streams like Mr. Ahgren’s are becoming more popular on the platform. “That idea of multiplayer entertainment, where communities can influence the content creators create, will continue to spread,” she said. “Content consumers can directly influence and, in some cases, dictate what happens in the content they use. It is inherently unique to Twitch. I think that’s why marathons or subscriber streams are so popular. ”
Mr. Ahgren’s stream can be seen as extensions of the trend that creators are making money in many other areas of their lives, from daily decisions about what to eat or wear to who they are. should go out. Streams like his can create a deeper connection with fans who see the subathon as a collective community experience.
“No matter what time of the day you follow, his stream is up and running and you’ll see many familiar faces in the conversation,” wrote Nathan Grayson, a game reporter, at Kotaku. “It’s only been running for three days, but it feels like comfort food.”
It was this kind of comfort and connection that fascinated him, Mr. Seaver said. “While the content of the stream may not be too special, the reality is that you are all members of the community watching this truly rare event,” he said. “You can follow Ludwig’s entire life for several days. It’s not great for him, but you get a lot of content from it and you get that you as a community came together and could see this happen. “
As a result, more and more people are making a living by streaming on a full-time platform, with some of the highest-earning streamers making more than $ 1 million per year, according to a study into September of online lending company CashNetUS.
Twitch’s growth reflected an overall boom in the gaming industry in 2020. Home orders combined with the release of new generation consoles by Microsoft and Sony in November led to a large amount of finance; gamers spent a record $ 56.9 billion last year in the US, up 27% from 2019, according to NPD Group.
While Mr. Ahgren took six figures off his stream, he encouraged his young fans to take responsibility for their money. “I just told them, ‘Hey, don’t use your aphrodisiac test on me,’ he said. “Make sure your bread is correct before giving it away.”
No one knows how long Mr. Ahgren can go. Other Twitch streamers went live relatively consistently for over 31 days, but Mr. Ahgren said he couldn’t imagine things going to be that far.
He’s got a trip to visit his girlfriend’s family for a few hours a week north, so he hopes things will be over before that. If not, he will have to find a way to get his line on the road. “I think it’s been a once-in-a-lifetime, enjoyable experience,” said Mr. Ahgren of his flow. “I get excited every day when I wake up because it will never happen to me again.”
Kellen Browning Contribution reports.