VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (AP) — A Virginia man who died at home while playing a 24-hour video game marathon was part of an online livestreaming community where members sometimes go to extremes to build their audiences, experts say.
Brian Vigneault, 35, had spent about 22 hours playing the online wargame “World of Tanks” on the streaming platform Twitch.tv. He told followers watching him play the game that he was raising money for the Make-A-Wish Foundation.
But early Sunday, he stood up from his computer to take a smoke break. The father of three who played under the name PoShYbRiD never appeared on screen again.
“He was in rough shape,” said Jessica Gebauer, 29, a friend of Vigneault’s and fellow streamer who lives in Humboldt in Canada’s Saskatchewan province.
“I watched him until about half an hour before he said he’d be right back,” she said. “He just looked really, really tired. We were telling him, ‘Go to sleep. The stream can wait.'”
Virginia Beach police said they responded to a 911 call for cardiac arrest. Vigneault was pronounced dead at the scene.
The cause and manner of his death remain under investigation, the medical examiner’s office said.
One of the most popular websites in the United States, Twitch is a “congested marketplace” in which streamers are vying for eyeballs, according to Nicholas Thiel Taylor, a digital media professor at North Carolina State University.
“There is pressure on a lot of these folks to go to extremes to build an audience,” he said. “It…