He’s been holding on for almost a week. Ludwig Ahgren, a 25-year-old American from Los Angeles, streams himself nonstop on Twitch, a live streaming platform widely used by gamers. Viewers pay him to continue, and the end is not in sight for now.
The followers, who can chat with him via Twitch, see Ludwig (and sometimes his roommates) gaming, cooking, eating and sleeping. In the evening he has movie nights and even in the shower (with shorts on) he leaves the camera on.
It’s called a subathon on Twitch. Normally it is a short period in which a streamer comes up with something to get paid subscribers for his stream. For example, a streamer can promise to eat something sharp or play a certain popular game with every 2000 new subscribers.
After three days of streaming, Ahgren said his previous record stood at 16 hours:
Ahgren came up with something different when he turned on his camera last Sunday. For every new subscriber, ten seconds are added to a countdown clock that indicates how long he still has to stream. He had thought it wouldn’t take more than 24 hours, 48 hours at the most.
We are now a week further. The clock is still at more than 55 o’clock and new seconds are still being added. The number of subscribers has grown from a few tens of thousands to almost 100,000, which is lucrative, as each new subscriber pays $ 4.99 per month, half of which goes to him. His channel now leads with the most subscribers on the platform.
It is certainly not the first time that someone has been streaming on Twitch for a long time, but the idea of the clock is fairly new, says game journalist Len Maessen. “It often happens that someone has a crazy idea. If you come up with the right trick at the right time, it can suddenly go fast.
Even when Ahgren is asleep, an army of fans continues to keep the stream going. They chat and play YouTube clips to keep things interesting. Twice Ahgren became trending on Twitter in the US while sleeping. “We keep everyone as motivated as possible to keep that going for as long as possible,” one of the moderators told The New York Times.
Meanwhile, Twitch, a platform owned by Amazon, isn’t getting any worse either. It was already on the rise due to corona, but since the start of the first lockdown, the viewing figures have skyrocketed, Maessen knows.
“It certainly went from record to record in the beginning. They’re taking advantage of creative and interesting ideas that some streamers have.” In addition to games with commentary, there are more and more other things to see: users piloting a virtual plane together with Flight Simulator to the kind of channels where streamers share their whole lives.
Ahgren, who has now streamed an amount of at least five figures together, will wake up every morning with mixed feelings, Maessen suspects. “He has become a kind of prisoner of that clock, but it brings him a lot and he is of course motivated again and again by the fans to keep going. The question is how long. He had a visit to the family of his girlfriend planned, I read. But he can’t just quit without disappointing subscribers, so there is some social pressure on it. “