The hottest new monetization trend on the internet couldn’t be simpler: all you need to do is be as repetitive and monotonous as possible.
That’s the gist of NPC streaming, which has gone viral after being popularized by creators like Pinkydoll (real name Fedha Sinon). By acting like video game characters and delivering rote replies in response to viewer gifts, NPC streamers are able to make thousands of dollars per day by doing next to nothing.
The rise of the NPC streamer stems from the redefinition of the titular term, which has been adopted as a beloved piece of internet lingo. Though it stands for “non-player character,” NPC is now used as a pejorative title for people who fail to think or act for themselves.
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Sinon used the slangy definition of NPC as her entryway into the genre she now exemplifies. “I was just being cute,” she told the New York Times. “I remember someone saying, ‘Oh my God, you look like an NPC. And then they start sending me, like, crazy money.'”
Though Pinkydoll is not the first NPC streaming channel (that honor may go to natuecoco), Sinon has turned the genre into big business. In an era when streamers manipulate viewer choices to drive traffic on subscription platforms, NPC streams offer multiple revenue streams. Between sales of the stickers Sinon responds to and her resulting OnlyFans traffic, the woman behind Pinkydoll told NYT that she makes about $7,000 a day.
After Sinon’s exploits went viral, other creators hopped on the NPC bandwagon. Moving your body robotically while performing a passable Miles Morales impression has never been so lucrative.
THIS IS NOT MILES MORALES pic.twitter.com/2aWKWUNbv6
— a✬ (@destroynectar) July 13, 2023
The biggest names in streaming have been able to take NPC earnings to the next level. Viewers met iShowSpeed with a flurry of likes and stickers when the Ohio native tried NPC streaming for himself. Twitch record-breaker Kai Cenat produced his own extraordinary results: After completing just a single hour of NPC streaming, he claimed to make $6,000.
NPC streaming exists at the convergence of several internet subcultures. It’s video game satire, fan engagement, streamer communities, and Gen Z lingo all rolled into one. Even though participating creators are currently breaking the bank, the idea of making fun of NPCs is nothing new. How long has it been around, you ask? Well, I heard a rumor that monsters are coming back.