Skip to main content

Twitch Is Banning Adult Only Game Streaming

Launched back in June 2011, Twitch has become the destination for watching and broadcasting video gaming in real time, whether it's on the desktop or one of the latest game consoles. The site has grown so popular that it attracted the likes of Amazon, which agreed to purchase Twitch Interactive back in August 2014 for $970 million.

Naturally, with a user base of millions, Twitch Interactive has set some ground rules as to what can and cannot be shown on the site. "Our goal at Twitch is to create a safe, welcoming, inclusive community platform where everyone can feel comfortable and have fun," the company's blog said.

According to the company, it previously made "game-specific decisions" rather than swing the banhammer at games with a specific ESRB rating. Why? Because some Mature-rated (M) titles contained strong sexual content and/or loads of graphic violence while other "M" games weren't quite so offensive.

But the company indicates that this route isn't ideal and that there needs to be something more transparent in regards to what can and cannot be streamed on Twitch. That said, the company has decided to ban all games with an Adults Only (AO) rating from the ESRB.  

"While the ESRB ratings apply exclusively to US titles, our policy extends to versions of these games in all territories," the company blog said. "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."

Twitch Interactive added that games with an "M" rating from the ESRB that were previously "AO" rated can be streamed on Twitch. The company listed two examples: Fahrenheit: Indigo Prophecy and Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas.

"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," the blog added.

So what games cannot be streamed on Twitch? The list of AO titles can be found here and includes Leisure Suit Larry: Magna Cum Laude Uncut and Uncensored, Thrill Kill, All Nude Nikki, Body Language, Riana Rouge, Manhunt 2 and several others. The list is surprisingly short.

According to the Terms of Service (ToS), gamers wanting to use Twitch must be at least 13 and must get parental consent if they're under the age of 18.

Follow Kevin Parrish @exfileme. Follow us @tomshardware, on Facebook and on Google+.

  • StarBound
    The alternative and smart solution is to have an age rating system that allows or blocks content on whatever age restriction is practiced. That said, I will take my 5% revenue cut now that I came up with the idea for you in the past 3 minutes.

    Your welcome Twitch.
    Reply
  • onichikun
    Well, guess it is time to start working on a twitch clone... call it reflex.com ? :P
    Reply
  • spectrewind
    Ah yes, finally. I almost couldn't wait for the U.S. to impose it's archaic religious model on the world yet again.

    Ah, No...
    Nobody is imposing anything on you, or anyone. Don't try to bring religion into this; it is completely unrelated.
    A TOS can be revoked/changed/retired at any time.

    Factually, Twitch.tv is a privately held company in San Francisco, CA per their Glass Door business profile. They owe you NOTHING and can do whatever they want to with *their* - *private* - *business*. ... Don't like it? ... Then LEAVE!!

    Take this as a challenge to create your own business before you complain on THG (as the others have done).

    Your quote implies you are NOT from the U.S.A., correct? Then you need to create an non-USA alternative that does what you want it to do and stop whining on THG like so many other ignorant kids do. Then you can impose what you want, privately, on your terms.

    Thusly, I recommend you add *.twitch.tv to your hosts file. Quick solution to your problem. ;)
    Reply
  • skit75
    or just put all the AO rated material behind a valid credit-card linked subscription? Not that you would be charged for viewing or anything but at least you could still capture that market instead of giving it to refleXXX.com =)
    Reply
  • synphul
    So once again everyone has to suffer because everyone panders to the kiddies. Lovely. Something tells me it's not the precious tweens out there buying $1000-2000 gaming rigs. Why can't there be inclusion for everyone? Being forced to live life in the McPlayhouse at mcd's gets old. If they want a kiddy gaming place why not set one up on disney.com or something? Not saying there has to be 'offensive' material out there, but if the adults are building/buying the rigs, the one's paying the internet bills etc, why force them to suffer restrictions?

    "create an inclusive community.." - by discluding things. Clever. lol
    Reply
  • Confussled
    "Games rated 18+ by other rating systems are fine to stream"

    Well at least they put that in otherwise you'd never see anything streamed from Australia ever again o.O
    Reply
  • cats_Paw
    Considering that they stated that 18+ games "rated in the USA" cannot be stremed, it does suggest that it is something that the USA legislation has imposed. I dont watch Twitch that much, but I know a lot of streamers who will have problems with this.

    This does however open a clear market for ahoter streaming service that will not be bound by this sort of practice.
    Reply
  • cats_Paw
    Ah yes, finally. I almost couldn't wait for the U.S. to impose it's archaic religious model on the world yet again.

    Ah, No...
    Nobody is imposing anything on you, or anyone. Don't try to bring religion into this; it is completely unrelated.
    A TOS can be revoked/changed/retired at any time.

    Factually, Twitch.tv is a privately held company in San Francisco, CA per their Glass Door business profile. They owe you NOTHING and can do whatever they want to with *their* - *private* - *business*. ... Don't like it? ... Then LEAVE!!

    Take this as a challenge to create your own business before you complain on THG (as the others have done).

    Your quote implies you are NOT from the U.S.A., correct? Then you need to create an non-USA alternative that does what you want it to do and stop whining on THG like so many other ignorant kids do. Then you can impose what you want, privately, on your terms.

    Thusly, I recommend you add *.twitch.tv to your hosts file. Quick solution to your problem. ;)

    There is no service right now that works well and widely spread as twitch.
    Also, you make a good point by saying "dont like it, leave". I could make the same argument about people who come to a 18+ game stream "dont like it, leave".

    Twitch is not giving people the choice of doing so, and in it, limiting them. That means less content, less revenue... Its rather obvious twitch is not doing this because they want to but because they have to.

    You can google laws and bills introduced since 2011 that correlate to this situation.
    Reply
  • Christopher1
    The alternative and smart solution is to have an age rating system that allows or blocks content on whatever age restriction is practiced. That said, I will take my 5% revenue cut now that I came up with the idea for you in the past 3 minutes.

    Your welcome Twitch.
    Yours is a much better solution in my opinion. Just make people put on the site that the things in question are A-O games and ask people "Do you want to view this?" like a bunch of video streaming websites do for adult content (most of them do anything M-rated or higher as needing confirmation unless you are logged in and over 18) before playing the thing.
    Reply
  • alidan
    such bs, there aren't enough adult games to warrant a blanket "we can't possibly have proper judgement on this so blanket ban"

    ban based on content of the game not the rating.
    Reply