Twitch Bans ‘Adults Only’ Games | MOUSE n JOYPAD

Twitch Bans ‘Adults Only’ Games


Twitch has updated their Rules of Conduct to prohibit the display of any games that have been rated Adults Only by the Entertainment Software Rating Board on its popular streaming service. This seems to have come right before the release of Hatred, a new game about a psychopath murdering random innocent people.

On their blog, they wrote in response to these changes “Our goal at Twitch is to create a safe, welcoming, inclusive community platform where everyone can feel comfortable and have fun. From time to time, we update our Rules of Conduct (RoC) in pursuit of this goal and to match emerging issues in the video game industry.” They continued on to say, “Simply put, AO games are not welcome on Twitch.”

Games outside of the ESRB rating, such as the PEGI system, are not exempt from this either. “Generally, if the US version is rated for Adults Only (18+) or has an equivalent rating in your territory, you should not broadcast that game on Twitch.”

They have since clarified however that games with 18+ ratings, such as PEGI 18 or R18+ will only be included in this policy if the game in question was rated AO by the Entertainment Software Rating Board in North America. They said “Games rated 18+ by other rating systems are fine to stream, so long as they are not rated AO by the ESRB, and they don’t violate the standard language of our RoC and ToS.”

For example, Grand Theft Auto V was rated Mature by the ESRB, while most of the other rating boards set the game to a 18+. This game will be allowed to stream, and remains unaffected by this new policy.

Currently, there are only 26 games currently rated AO by the ESRB, including Manhunt 2, Thrill Kill (Unpublished), the Director’s Cut of Fahrenheit (Indigo Prophecy), and various other games with strong sexual themes (such as Playboy The Mansion, Seduce Me and Leisure Suit Larry: Magna Cum Laude Uncut and Uncensored).

“Previously, we made game-specific decisions about which games would and would not be available for broadcast – sometimes due to overtly sexual content, sometimes due to gratuitous violence. This is unsustainable and unclear, generating only further confusion among Twitch broadcasters. We would like to make this policy as transparent as possible.”

In their list of prohibited games, they have several products that are prohibited based on their own determination, that they feel violate the company’s Terms of Service or Rules of Conduct, such as BMX XXX, Sakura Spirit, Dramatical Murder and Second Life. Following those is the addition of the AO policy, the first game used as an example is Hatred.

The blog finished up by saying “The RoC is a living document that we update regularly based on community feedback and industry developments. We would appreciate your feedback, too.” So, do you think this is a good move to protect young minds from offensive content, or is this unwarranted censorship? Leave your comments below, and keep reading Mouse n Joypad for more developments in this story.

Hatred inspired an op-ed I wrote back in April called Is ‘Murder Simulator’ Really Incorrect?, where I dissect violent video games and their impact on our industry.