Mr. Lupo’s fan base is riveted. It skews older than the average Twitch gaming channel. He is married — his wife, Samantha, is his manager — and has a 4-year-old son. His biggest supporters tend to hail from a similar demographic.
“He became a dad a couple months after I did,” said Nick Kallner, 34, who lives near Albany and has been watching Mr. Lupo since his Destiny days. “I have the sense watching him that he’s a dad like me, a real-world guy. Plus, he’s funny.”
And while Mr. Lupo is fluent in the language of bro-speak, his devotees include plenty of women.
“What cemented it for me is how he built a respectful community,” said Lindsey Hladik, who lives in Orlando, Fla. “As a woman, you get a lot of harassment, people casually throwing off offensive terms, and he’s always good about shutting down that kind of behavior.”
Ms. Hladik, 34, is a manager at an e-commerce site and has been working from home for the last three weeks. Mr. Lupo’s channel plays in the background, all day, every day.
“It’s like having the TV on,” she said.
The difference is that the star of this show performs for hours on end. Keeping energy levels up is just one of Mr. Lupo’s challenges. On a few occasions over the years, pranksters have sicced the police on him, calling the authorities and claiming that some horrible crime was unfolding at his house — a toxic gag known as “swatting.” That has made it uncomfortable when fans knock on his door to introduce themselves. In the moment, Mr. Lupo can’t help but imagine worst-case scenarios.
Even when there’s just peace and quiet, he spends most of his waking hours in a windowless room. It would be a grim existence, he said, if he didn’t love video games and performing before an audience that keeps growing.
“People are finding ways to distract themselves a bit from what’s going on in the outside world,” he said. “If I’m helping, that’s fantastic.”