Ghosting: What it means to be Ghosted in a Video Game

What is ghosting and what does it mean to be ghosted in a video game?

It makes me feel old to say this, but, kids these days. Turning nouns into verbs and coming up with terms for things that I could never previously put into words. Nothing makes you feel old like the young, right?

I can’t remember when I first heard the term “ghost,” because I was coupled up and married off before online dating is what it is today. It was probably a friend from college who first told me about ghosting in relationship to her, well, relationship. It’s a pretty straightforward term, really. To ghost someone, in this day and age, is just to drop off their radar without explanation. You stop responding to texts and emails, unfollow them on social media, ignore their calls. One day they’re there and the next day they’re not. They’re just gone. Like a ghost.\

Ghosting in video games is a fairly new term, as least as far as I can tell. Even my avid-gamer brother didn’t know what it meant to be ghosted in video games. Don’t worry, though. I did some digging to find out what it means to ghost someone and I think I can explain it to you so you can feel hip and young. Or, at the very least, so you can know what your cooler-than-you teenager means when they say that they were ghosted in a video game.

How to ghost someone in a computer or video game

We know that, in life, to ghost someone is to simply drop out of their life without explanation. But what does it mean to ghost someone in a video game?

According to, in the cyberworld, ghosting is a “form of cheating in online games where players are privileged to information they shouldn’t have about another player’s whereabouts, hand, etc.” In other words, ghosting isn’t just disappearing on someone, but, as far as online gaming is concerned, ghosting someone is watching them play via a LiveStream and using the knowledge gained from watching their LiveStream to try and beat them in the game. This type of ghosting is considered a strategy.

A second type of ghosting in video games is when you die in a game but are allowed to continue to watch and monitor a game from a sort of overhead position. You may see things from your “bird’s eye view” that other active players can’t see. You may have the advantage of peering around doors or finding other obstacles. If you relay the information you’ve gained as a non-active player to an active player, it is considered cheating.

Ghosting vs. stream sniping: What’s the difference?

My brother actually called ghosting “stream sniping” which is similar to but not the same as ghosting. According to StackExchange, these two actions are different. Whereas ghosting can be seen as cheating, stream sniping is a bit more ambiguous. Stream sniping is waiting in a queue alongside a LiveStreaming player so you can get in the game adjacent to them and either help them win or try to defeat them. Confusing, I know.

The term stream sniping, though, comes from the very real act of sniping. The idea is you wait a long time for a small window of opportunity to open up. Most often the stream sniper has malicious intent and wants to throw the game and cause the sniper distress.

These terms have sort of naturally involved as the online gaming world advances each year. The online gaming community grows and changes as rapidly as the rest of the world, and the players learn and grow more as each year passes. Although ghosting and stream sniping might seem like fun, if you are intentionally trying to cheat to help another person win or trying to intentionally get someone to lose, you should reconsider. After all, the best victories are the ones we earn for ourselves!