Twitch has revisited their Rules of Conduct and decided that Adult Only rated games will not be allowed to be streamed by gamers on the service.
So what exactly does this mean and what falls into the AO category? The statement from Twitch reads as follows:
If a game’s US version is rated Adults Only by the ESRB, you should not broadcast that game on Twitch. However, ESRB rated Mature versions of Adults Only titles are permitted for streaming, such as Mature versions of Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas and Fahrenheit: Indigo Prophecy.
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. #
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.
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.
Today, we’re updating the RoC with regard to Adult Only (AO) games. Simply put, AO games are not welcome on Twitch. Please refer to the ESRB’s Ratings Guide and list of Adults Only games for more information.
While the ESRB ratings apply exclusively to US titles, our policy extends to versions of these games inall territories. 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.
The RoC is a living document that we update regularly based on community feedback and industry developments. We would appreciate your feedback, too.
If you actually check that list you’ll see there’s not many games rated AO. Most of them are actually quite old and are unlikely to be streamed anyway. The AO list includes games such as the controversial Manhunt 2, Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, and the not so controversial Leisure Suit Larry: Magna Cum Laude Uncut and Uncensored.
Twitch issued further clarification following their posting concerning games that also have M ratings which includes Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas.
“For clarification, versions of games that are currently rated M (mature) such as GTA: San Andreas or Indigo Prophecy are fine to stream. “
Most of the games listed contain sexual content or extreme violence with a couple of exceptions. To clarify, if a game is AO in the US, then it can’t be streamed. Period. Ratings outside of the US are not being taken into account.
This update to their Rules of Conduct is timely because Hatred will be released on Steam next week and it’s raised more than a few eyebrows since it was announced. In the game you hunt down and murder “worthless human scum” in cold blood. There’s still not much known about the game but it sounds like it’s just trying to be controversial to shift copies. We’ll have to wait and see.