This recording of a TikTok livestream from Montreal content creator Pinkydoll is an example of NPC streaming, a trend where creators act out video game-style scenes at the request of viewers. Pinkydoll, whose real name is Fedha Sinon, says she's making good money from NPC streaming.
A Montreal woman is gaining exposure – and making money – by performing unusual actions requested by fans live on TikTok. She'll say, "Yes, yes, yes!" And then, in quick succession, she slurps, then shouts, "Fire! Fire! Fire! Fire!"
This seemingly erratic behaviour can go on for 90 minutes at a time. Here's a sampling:
It all relates back to a virtual trend called NPC streaming, in which real people try to act like video game characters called NPCs(non-player characters) — background characters that perform the same actions over and over while the game is going on. Pinkydoll says she's making good money acting out these strange scenes.
Confused? You're not alone.
Here's your primer on who Pinkydoll is, how she earns money acting like a video game character, and what the trend says about internet culture.
Who is Pinkydoll?
Pinkydoll's real name is Fedha Sinon. She is 27 years old and lives in Montreal. On TikTok, her account is called Pinkydollreal; she has more than 750,000 followers. She's also an adult content creator.
Sinon broadcasts her live videos for TikTok in an apartment, often with the kitchen in the background.
"I'm getting a lot of attention right now. You could say it's not always the best attention, but whatever, it's good for my pockets," she said in a recent interview with Radio-Canada's Décrypteurs.
Sinon is one of many TikTokers who have hopped onto the NPC streaming trend. During the livestreams, fans send her virtual gifts — little stickers like hearts that she responds to with a particular action that an NPC might do on a loop within a game. The stickers are cues for her to perform certain actions. The audience is, in effect, controlling the show.
But it's live, and can be unpredictable. Sinon at times breaks character to chastise a child who's off-screen for spitting on the dog.
Sinon's account gained a lot of attention after someone posted recordings of her live performances out of context on Twitter. She's since been featured in the New York Times and Rolling Stone, among other major media outlets.
She's also quickly assumed a role in popular culture. One of her signature phrases — "Ice cream so good. Mmm, ice cream so good" — is featured in a popular meme of Joe Biden holding an ice cream cone and posing with a woman.
Music producer Timbaland has also featured Sinon in some of his own TikTok videos, giving her a boost. Elon Musk also got in on the act.
But Sinon is by no means the only TikToker leveraging the trend. Other content creators on TikTok, many of whom are also present on the adult site OnlyFans, are also performing nonsensical streams in response to fan prompts. There's a sexual undertone to some of it.
"I would say it just further plays into this idea of oversexualized women engaging peripherally in gaming cultures," Rachel Kowert, a research psychologist who specializes in gaming communities, told The Daily Beast. "They're NPCs, not main characters, and it is definitely playing into that."
How do NPC streamers like Pinkydoll make money?
Popular culture is moving so fast online that it's hard to keep up with the many memes and trends on each platform. But in this case, some serious commerce seems to be happening.
Every time a viewer buys one of the stickers as a gift for a livestreamer like Sinon, the performer makes some money. Some gifts cost viewers a few cents, while others are worth hundreds of dollars. Prompting her to say her signature ice cream phrase costs less than two cents.
She says she started the whole thing on a whim.
"I was just being cute," Sinon told the New York Times. "I remember someone saying, 'Oh my God, you look like an NPC.' And then they start sending me, like, crazy money."
How much is that? She told the New York Times she makes up to $3,000 US per stream. She also appears on other platforms and suggested she makes $7,000 a day.