Popularised by Twitch and other streaming platforms, backseat gaming is on the rise and for most, is an utter nuisance! For casual players, backseat gaming might sound unfamiliar. However, this gaming term is becoming more and more common, particularly as more people spectate live streamers.
Just like watching the football, the urge to get your two cents in even if nobody asked you to is hard to explain. Yet, some believe that backseat gaming behaviour can be traced back to our consciousness. After all, humans tend to take a “backseat” not just when they see other people playing video games.
But why is backseat gaming bad for eSports and what can you do as a streamer to stop backseat gamers from littering your chat with unsolicited advice? Scroll down to learn 5 key things about backseat gaming right here!
Backseat gaming refers to excessive (and often unnecessary) commentary on the actions or decisions of someone playing a video game, by an individual who is not playing. Anyone can become a backseat gamer. Being better at the game you are watching somebody else play does not make you an exception to the rule.
However, backseat gamers are often squad mates who died before you but continue to narrate on the game or stream viewers with access to your chat feed or party chat.
The different types of backseat gaming include:
Being loud or vocal during play.
Sighing or rolling your eyes.
Showing off with your own statistics.
Providing instructions unnecessarily.
Mocking another players ability.
Blurting out storyline spoilers.
If you find yourself doing any of the above or instructing the video gamer on what to do when you are not playing the game yourself, you are a backseat gamer. And, chances are you’re probably not helping someone who is trying to stop rage quitting!
Shame on you!
Why is backseat gaming bad?
In life, helpful advice is normally not a bad thing. After all, you are only trying to help; right? However, with backseat gaming, things become a little more complex. There are many types of backseat gaming (some subtle and some just rude), however, the 3 foremost reasons why backseat gaming is bad include:
1. Backseat gamers are intrusive.
Firstly, backseat gamers are intrusive. If someone is playing a video game, they want to enjoy it without other people bothering them. In particular, when you in the same room as the player, it’s not just your words that can effect the enjoyment of a video game. Even a sigh or rolling of eyes can be considered a form of backseat gaming!
2. Backseat gamers destroy a players confidence.
Secondly, you can seriously knock somebody’s confidence by berating their actions or by simply telling them what to do. In eSports competitions, backseat gamers are the worst; particularly when the stakes are high. With just milli-seconds to make a decision; a backseat gamer can seriously put you off your own game.
3. Backseat gamers spoil storylines.
Lastly, nobody likes spoilers and backseat gamers can often blurt out spoilers on Twitch streams which can ruin the game for both the streamer and the rest of the audience. Especially with games like Elden Ring that are heavily reliant upon actions to formulate the storyline.
That said, spoilers are not just limited to storylines and include anything from letting the gamer know what certain upgrades do or mentioning characters that have not come into play yet. Just like movies, you shouldn’t spoil the game!
Are you a backseat gamer?
It’s hard to tell whether you are a backseat gamer or not. After all, giving advice doesn’t necessarily feel like you are backseat gaming; especially when you think the advice is helpful. If you want to know whether you are backseat gamer, simple ask yourself a two simple questions.
Do you get frustrated watching others play?
Do you often give advice to gamers?
Do you commentate on every aspect of a game?
If you have answered yes to any of these questions, chances are that you are a backseat gamer. To stop being a backseat gamer, you first need to identify the signs that indicate how this could be an actual problem. For starters, figure out whether you give advice when nobody asks you to. If so, stop for a moment to think and try to hold back.
Secondly, if you watch others play a game and get frustrated whenever they are not doing something you think is the right way, it is a clear sign that you have an issue with backseat gaming. Instead, try to be impartial on all decisions made. Don’t go smashing your gaming keyboard with utter drivel that nobody wants to hear!
Thirdly, there is no need to focus on every little detail. Even if you are not in control, you can still find some joy in watching others play. And, if you can’t help yourself but commentate on absolutely everything happening, you should stop watching!
How to stop backseat gamers?
Struggling with backseat gamers at home on on Twitch? No sweat! We’ve experienced tons of backseat gamers during our own streams and have found many ways to help combat this contentious type of viewer. You don’t need to be rude, you don’t even need to be coy, you just need to get a handle on them!
Here’s our top 5 ways to stop backseat gamers on Twitch:
1. Let them know!
Most people are fairly understanding; even in the gaming world.
If it becomes clear to you that you are stuck with a backseat gamer, you need to action action. The first step you should take to stopping backseat gamers is to just simply let them know that their behaviour is annoying. It is possible that they might not be aware of what they are doing and only want what is best for you. However, unless you explain the situation, their behaviour might not change.
2. Add chat rules
Chat rules for streamers are critical to ensuring that the experience is an enjoyable one for everybody. As part of your chat rules, define what types of backseat gaming you will accept. Or, if you won’t accept any at all, make that clear to your viewers as well as the ramifications of doing so.
3. Hire chat moderators
For streamers on Twitch, hiring chat moderators are essential as you grow your viewership. Chat mods can moderate and delete messages while also enacting stronger measures such as banning viewers. If you have a pesky backseat gamer that won’t go away, instruct your chat moderators on what is acceptable on your stream and let them handle the rest!
4. Make it fun!
There’s nothing greater than a streamer who deals well with adversity. By finding ways to make a game out of backseat gamers, you will find that your other viewers love you even more. Maybe you come up with some form of ”swear jar” or a code word for your followers to type when a backseat gamer arrives. Make it fun and bring the rest of your audience into the picture.
5. Don’t let them win!
Lastly, do not let backseat gamers ruin your stream.
It’s quite easy to get frustrated at backseat gamers. However, if you have unfortunately come across someone who is purposefully backseat gaming and show signs of frustration, it’s only going to get worse. There are many measures you can put into place to ensure that backseat gamers are nipped in the bud before they become a real problem. Remember, they are watching you; not the other way around.
Are there exceptions?
Having said all the negative things about backseat gaming, it is also worth pointing out that there are certain exceptions where backseat gaming is encouraged.
For one, you can find streamers on Twitch TV who have a backseat gaming tag added to their channel description. This means that the streamer encourages the chat to join them and play a game together. Turn-based games are perhaps the best example where you can discuss your next move with chat and make them feel like they are playing with you.
Another example is identifying technical issues. If someone is playing a video game and you hear a loud Mac Sound, for example, you need to tell them that something might be wrong with their computer and that they should not ignore the problem because it can snowball and ruin their gaming experience.
The best way to ensure you are being a positive backseat gamer is to simply ask the streamer what their take is on backseat gaming. Some love it, some hate it. So don’t just assume they are okay with it in the first place!
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