Why are streamers so bad at games?

Last Updated on 05/11/2022 by Dean

You’d expect people who spend over a hundred hours a week streaming video games to actually be good at them. Yet, so many streamers are bad at video games. Why is this?

Reasons why streamers are bad at video games

  • Because they are entertainers
  • Multitasking is difficult
  • They play many different games
  • They might be smurfing

Because they are entertainers

Most streamers prioritize content over anything else. While a normal gamer will secure the W at all costs, a streamer might want to do something that both entertains the live viewers as well as would make a good stream highlight to post on TikTok later on.

streamers are entertainers first and gamers second. For this reason they are often bad at video games on purpose so they can upload highlights to tiktok
Spicyuuu uploading highlights from her Twitch stream to TikTok | Image via Spicyuuu on Tiktok

Multitasking is difficult

Unlike most gamers, streamers are doing multiple things at the same time. They might be in the same lobby as you but on top of playing the game, they also have a chat to entertain. While you are out there strategizing, the streamer in your lobby could be busy replying to questions or thanking donators.

After all, streamers always have to engage with their viewers. Having a live audience is distracting and requires more work thus the streamer is having a harder time performing well in the game they are playing.

They play many different games

Many of the top-tier streamers today play a wide variety of video games. These streamers are likely to pick up the next big hype (think Among Us) and move on once the demand fades. Streamers like xQc, Valkyrae, Sykkuno, and Pokimane are known as variety streamers.

pokimane is a variety streamer who plays many different video games on twitch. for this reason, she isn't always the best at them.
Games recently streamed by Pokimane|Image via Pokimane on Twitch

They play an assortment of video games and never really spend enough time on them to fully master them. They simply don’t put in the hours.

When a variety streamer goes on to play a game like Valorant, you cannot expect them to perform well. Even if they are known to play other shooter games. Aside from aim, a tactical shooter like Valorant takes countless hours of practice, map knowledge, agent knowledge, and strategy to perform well.

They might be smurfing

Sometimes you might think a live streamer is bad at video games based on the elo that they play in. But basing your opinion on their rank isn’t always reliable. Oftentimes, streamers play in a lower elo to be able to play with other streamers.

Ryan Higa playing Valorant on his smurf account so he can play with OTV members
Ryan Higa playing Valorant on his smurf account so he can play with friends | Imagine via Ryan Higa on Twitch

This process is called smurfing, it means they are playing on an alternative account in a certain rank that is way below their actual rank.

Streamers aren’t actually bad at video games

As a viewer in a live stream, it’s a lot easier to spot mistakes. During a live stream, a high elo lobby in Valorant or League might look easy to you, even if you yourself are low elo at best.

It’s easy to spot mistakes as a viewer in a live stream. That doesn’t mean you won’t make them yourself. Any game looks easier as a spectator. This is the same for physical sports as well. If you’ve ever watched a game of basketball or football in a bar, you’ll know that many fans like to complain about plays that are made.

This doesn’t make these players bad, they are playing at the top of the world after all. But as a viewer, it can look like they are bad. This same thing happens when watching live streamers. Their games look a lot easier than they actually are, and their mistakes look more stupid than they are as well.

The truth is, most streamers are average at video games. They put a lot of hours into streaming video games but this time is mostly diversified among a wide variety of different types of video games. If they were to focus all their time and attention on a single game, they would be extremely good at that game.

Not all streamers are bad at video games

There are millions of streamers out there so you are bound to find ones that are bad at video games. Especially among the very top, where variety streamers mainly focus on content and entertainment over sweaty plays and grinding a single game.

But besides the variety streamers, there are plenty of good streamers out there as well. If you look at the top of any esport, many of their best players are Twitch streamers.

At the top of Valorant, you have streamers like TenZ and Subroza who stream almost daily.

At the top of CSGO, you have streamers like s1mple who go live on Twitch to entertain their fans from time to time.

while there are many streamers who are bad at a game, there are plenty of streamers who are good at games as well such as faker, seen here, playing league of legends.
Faker playing League of Legends on Twitch | Image via Faker on Twitch

Even Faker, arguably the best League of Legends player ever, has a successful Twitch stream.

If you are unsatisfied with the mediocre performance of a streamer in your favorite game, you always have a wide choice of streamers to watch who are good at the game.


In reality, streamers aren’t bad at video games. They are average at video games because they play a wide variety of games which prevents them from ever reaching peek in a single game. On top of that, because they prioritize content and entertainment over everything else, they never perform at their best when streaming live.

Other questions answered

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