PIXEL BURN – No Sex Please, We’re Twitch

In which Matt questions Twitch.TV's aversion to tits, arse and man-sausage
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[TRANSCRIPT]

Hello my name’s Matt and this is Pixel Burn, where I usually take a snarky look at the week’s gaming news. Except for single-topic episodes like this one, which is all about tits and arse.

If you like to dabble in quirky one-shot indie games, or you also happen to be subscribed to my friend AbilityDrain, you will no doubt be familiar with the work of Robert Yang: game design teacher at New York University and indie developer. Yang is most notable for Hurt Me Plenty, a game about consensual spanking, Succulent – a game about a man sucking on an ice lolly, Stick Shift – in which a man wanks-off a car, and Cobra Club – a game about penis selfies and government spying

Yang’s latest creation is “Rinse and Repeat” – a first-person scrub-em-up in which you massage a naked man in the showers at a gym because…well, he asks you to. Actually it’s more like he damn-well expects you to, like you’re his personal bloody scrubbing service or something. He even has the absolute gall to complain if he thinks your scrubbing isn’t up to par. The cheeky bastard.

The more eagle-eyed among you have probably noticed Yang’s games are just a teeny bit on the homoerotic side, with two in particular being especially brazen in their display of man-sausage. Nowhere near as explicit as a smutty Google Image search with safe mode turned off, yet still considered too hot for Twitch.tv.

According to Yang’s blog, four days after its release Rinse and Repeat was placed alongside Hatred, Manhunt 2: Uncut, Dramatical Murder, Huniepop, and his earlier game Cobra Club, on Twitch.tv’s ever-growing list of prohibited games. If you try to play any of these games on Twitch then your stream will be shut down ASAP and your account may also be temporarily suspended.

So, to reuse a gimmick from one of my previous videos, this is considered unacceptable by Twitch.

Whereas this is perfectly fine.

This will get your stream shut down quicker than a meth-lab outside Buckingham Palace

But this is A-Ok.

As is this.

And this.

Now just so I’m absolutely crystal fucking clear, I am NOT asking that Twitch also bans The Witcher 3, MGS V, Mortal Kombat or GTA. Far from it.

I personally think the reason for Quiet’s outfit was as dumb as those cheesy “decontamination scenes” in Star Trek: Enterprise, but I still enjoyed Metal Gear Solid V! I’m not going to demand Hideo Kojima be sent to a readjustment camp or anything. Similarly, I’m not going to judge anyone who enjoys staring at her breasts. They are very well-rendered! I’m just saying Twitch.tv could…y’know, maybe loosen up a bit.

The reason The Witcher 3 gets away with its nudity on Twitch, whereas something like Cobra Club doesn’t, is to do with this part of Twitch’s terms of service, which states:

“Nudity can’t be a core focus or feature of the game in question and modded nudity is disallowed in its entirety. Occurrences in game are okay, so long as you do not make them a primary focus of your stream and only spend as much time as needed in the area to progress the game’s story.”

So glimpses of nipples are fine and dandy whereas showering with naked men isn’t.

Unless you’re playing “Shower With Your Dad Simulator 2015” in which those naked men are your dads. Incidentally that game ISN’T on Twitch’s prohibited list.

By comparison YouTube’s guidelines are surprisingly less puritan. On YouTube a video that contains nudity or other sexual content may be allowed if the primary purpose is educational, documentary, scientific or artistic, and isn’t gratuitously graphic.

Which sounds stricter in theory than it is in practice, since you can often watch uncensored footage of explicit games like “Coming Out On Top” here without any problems. They just get flagged as “mature content.”

You can also find plenty of uncensored lets plays of Dramatical Murder – banned on twitch – on YouTube. Shit, where do you think I got this clip from?

Basically, there’s really no reason for Twitch to be so puritanical, and not just with Robert Yang’s games. I don’t see why people shouldn’t be allowed to stream Huniepop, Hatred or other adult games either, so long as it’s behind a mature content warning and an age gate. I mean, how hard can that be to implement?

Twitch certainly has no problem displaying ads after all. Even if an individual stream is shitting itself into oblivion, you can bet your arse that won’t disrupt the adverts.

“BUT MATT! THINK OF THE CHILDREN!” I hear you cry. “Children are liars, and they especially lie about their age on the internet! A simple age gate isn’t going to stop them from seeing this sort of smut on twitch!

Ah yes, the inevitable “Think of the children!” argument. Because children also watch Twitch streams, and we can’t have their fragile little minds exposed to something as monstrous as a polygonal arse now, can we? Even though your child can also walk into almost any public library, pick up a copy of 50 Shades of Grey, and start reading it right there and then. And of course Twitch makes no effort whatsoever to stop them watching stuff like this.

Alright, alright. Some people will be legitimately concerned that kids can stumble into a stream they probably shouldn’t be watching and get exposed to adult content. I can understand that.

Except according to Twitch’s own terms of service, you are required to be at least 13 years of age to use the site. The TOS also specifies that children between 13 and 18 may only use the Twitch Service under the supervision of a parent or legal guardian, who agrees on their behalf to be bound by the Terms of Service.

So if your darling little Timothy or Jemima comes crying to you because they saw a pixel-art todger on a Twitch stream then maybe you should’ve been supervising them.

Of course that isn’t always possible due to the demands of modern life and so forth. So perhaps alternatively Twitch could implement parental controls, accessed with a separate password, like there is on the Xbox One and PS4.

In fact Twitch already HAS a built-in setting allowing people to flag their streams for mature audiences only. So how difficult would it be to combine that with some parental controls to restrict what children can see on the service? Probably not very difficult at all, although it would require time and resources, and those cost money. Which brings us to the most likely reason Twitch just outright prohibits such salacious games instead.

Yep, at the end of the day the most likely reason for Twitch being twitchy about games with tits and cocks in them, is that it’s all about the Benjamins.

So long as those Benjamins aren’t rimming each other or anything.

Twitch.tv makes its money from a broad range of advertisers and sponsors. The more eyeballs there are on a stream, the more ads are seen, and the more ads are seen the more money twitch gets. Sites with a reputation for unfiltered adult content struggle to attract advertisers, so Twitch’s appeal has to be as broad as possible. Big names and big games are where the money is so Twitch caters to them. Even if those big games have one or more adult elements, the sheer volume of potential income far outweighs any complaints they may receive.

Meanwhile the audience for games like Rinse & Repeat, Hatred and so forth is a niche one, so it’s not worth the cost of implementing systems to restrict their access to adults only. Far easier – and cheaper – for Twitch to just ban them instead.

So for the foreseeable future, if you want to watch footage of games about hairy men that wear sunglasses into the shower, you’ll have to stick to YouTube. And if you don’t want to watch games about hairy men that wear sunglasses into the shower…then don’t. You’re not Malcolm MacDowell in A Clockwork Orange.

As a side note, it’s also interesting to see people who probably shed no tears when Hatred or Huniepop got banned from Twitch now grumbling that Rinse & Repeat is getting the same rough treatment. Gosh, who’d have thought quietly approving the censoring of something you didn’t like would’ve led to the censoring of something you did like, huh? But hey, it’s only censorship when the government does it, right? Plus it’s Twitch’s house and Twitch’s rules. There are other sites you can watch it on.

Nobody’s stopping you.

In short, this ban along with all the other prohibited games on Twitch is a load of bloody nonsense. If they wanted to Twitch could quite feasibly implement an effective age gate coupled with parental settings to vet who sees what games. They just choose not to, or it’s not a priority. So instead they opt to simply ban them. Which seems rather archaic and pointless in an age when everybody is but a single Google Image search away from Big Fat Cocks.

That’s all for this episode of Pixel Burn. If you still liked it then please let me know by clicking the requisite button down below, and let your friends, family and Robert Yang know as well. At the very least I hope you found it tolerable. In the meantime, until next week, as always, you can go now.

Matt

About Matt

Matt is the irresponsible degenerate behind bitscreed.com and the sarcastic writer, editor, director, presenter and tea boy of Pixel Burn.