And These Are Making a Killing Playing NPCs
In the ever-expanding realm of ridiculous social media trends, we have now arrived at a point of undeniable absurdity. Take, for instance, the recent phenomenon where people on TikTok are imitating non-player characters (NPCs) from video games.
For those not familiar with the term, NPCs are the background characters in video games, the ones with limited actions and repetitive lines, existing solely to provide context for the main player. They are mere tools in someone else’s narrative, devoid of depth or storyline. However, on TikTok, a growing number of individuals have taken it upon themselves to become these video game automatons.
One such creator is @loczniki, known as Nicki Loczek, who has been acting like a video game character on TikTok for two years now. Her videos consistently garner millions of views, highlighting the bizarre allure of this trend.
This video just reached 100M views Thank You so much guys❤️
More recently, NPC content has surged in popularity, with creators like @pinkydollreal live-streaming as NPCs. These creators recite scripted lines and perform reactions in response to “gifts” purchased by their fans, which manifest on screen as emojis.
The appeal for fans to give these creators diamonds, coins, and other gifts is clear – it’s relatively low-cost entertainment. However, for creators with substantial followings, the profits can be surprisingly substantial, especially when streams stretch on for hours. For example, @glam_with_dee shared that she made $99 in just a two-and-a-half-hour stream.
Replying to @𝐏𝐫𝐢𝐬 ✧˖° #greenscreen FINALLY THE TEA YA’LL BEEN WAITING FOR ME TO SPILL!!! I’ll be making my extra $2-4k in no time 🥲 #npccreator #npctrend #aitrend #npc #livetrends #sidehustlesthatwork #singlemomhustle #pinkydoll #cherrycrushtv #livegifts #pinkwig #pinkmakeupinspo #fypシ
So, why do people watch NPCs on TikTok? Some, like Nicki Loczek, create humorously absurd videos of themselves pretending to be video game characters in public. Many of these streamers go all out, donning elaborate cosplay costumes to further immerse themselves in the gaming and fantasy aesthetic.
But for others who watch these videos, it’s the sheer absurdity of it all that captivates us. There’s an uncanny feeling in witnessing people reduce themselves to NPCs, reciting lines and performing actions as if they were trapped in a digital loop.
However, what’s perhaps most intriguing about these TikTok NPCs is how they fulfill certain audience expectations. Despite not being authentic people, they exhibit consistency in their actions, have a clear authorial voice, and even maintain a brand identity. In essence, they do precisely what we anticipate they will do, and their reactions are both expected and, remarkably, delivered at the precise times we ask for them.
NPC live-streamers meticulously plan their reactions to the “gifts” they receive during their streams, with more significant gifts resulting in more exaggerated responses. This trend, as Christine Tran, a PhD candidate from the University of Toronto, aptly notes, falls into the broader category of creators turning their bodies into marketplaces of intimacy.
What do you think about this latest trend? Tell us in the comments or on our social media channels.