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.