Stream sniping in Call of Duty: Black Ops - Cold War will be harder than ever before

cold war multiplayer
(Image credit: activision)

Streamers, rejoice—Call of Duty: Black Ops - Cold War tackles stream sniping surprisingly well. Tucked all the way in the back corner of the Options menu are a bundle of extremely useful settings that big streamers will want on, including a matchmaking delay and the option to hide yours and others' usernames in-game.

For those who aren't familiar with stream sniping, it's the act of watching a live streamer's broadcast while in the same competitive match to cheat. It's a lot like how my brother would screen-cheat during our split-screen Halo matches in 2001, except more futuristic and terrible. Streamers of pretty much every competitive game suffer from stream snipers, but few games have effective measures to thwart them.

cod cold war stream sniping

(Image credit: Activision)

For Cold War, it seems like Treyarch and Raven Software took a page out of Epic's playbook. Back in September 2018, Fortnite received a matchmaking delay option that streamers instantly appreciated. Cold War has the same setting at launch. With the delay on, the game won't actually start finding a match until the set number of seconds pass (3, 5, 10, 15, 20, or random). The timer is invisible, so viewers have no way of knowing when exactly matchmaking begins.

This way, prospective cheaters wanting to stream snipe will have to take a wild guess or get very lucky to join the same game. Additionally, you can choose to hide your username from players in-game and hide player usernames from your view. This counters another common way to stream snipe. Without any usernames to verify, it's harder for someone in a streamer's match to recognize their name, tune into their stream, and start sniping.

Obviously, these settings are only useful for a select few famous streamers, but it's cool to see Treyarch and Raven take the issue seriously right out of the gate with Cold War. I've never had to worry about stream snipers myself, but I have seen them ruin a good time for folks that don't deserve the trouble.

Griefing of all kinds should have no place in CoD, after all. At the very least, it's a savvy move to keep streamers comfortable playing the game for months to come. Call of Duty: Warzone, which attracts droves of popular streamers daily, does have a Streamer Mode that hides usernames, but no matchmaking delay.

Morgan Park
Staff Writer

Morgan has been writing for PC Gamer since 2018, first as a freelancer and currently as a staff writer. He has also appeared on Polygon, Kotaku, Fanbyte, and PCGamesN. Before freelancing, he spent most of high school and all of college writing at small gaming sites that didn't pay him. He's very happy to have a real job now. Morgan is a beat writer following the latest and greatest shooters and the communities that play them. He also writes general news, reviews, features, the occasional guide, and bad jokes in Slack. Twist his arm, and he'll even write about a boring strategy game. Please don't, though.