If you were looking forward to streaming something like Hatred, Manhunt 2, or BMX XXX via Twitch, we’ve got some bad news. Twitch announced this week a ban on all titles rated Adults Only by the ESRB.
This isn’t exactly a huge swath of games. There aren’t even 30 total on the official site, and some of those never even hit shelves or were retracted.
The company had previously banned games on a case-by-case basis, but it has shifted policy, stating that the previous method was “unsustainable and unclear” and only served to generate further confusion among broadcasters, as explained in a post to the official blog this week.
Other territories use other ratings systems, but Twitch explains that their policy “extends to versions of these games in all territories. Generally, if the U.S. version is rated for Adults Only (18+) or has an equivalent rating in your territory, you should not broadcast that game on Twitch.” If a game is rated PEGI 18+ (the European game rating system), Twitch adds, it’s okay to stream if it’s U.S. rating is Mature.
The company later clarified that if a game has a Mature-rated version, such as in the case of Indigo Prophecy and Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, those games are fine to stream. Those varying editions of games can be hard to differentiate, so Twitch may have a hard time policing those versions, but users violating the ban can likely expect to find their accounts unusable shortly after.
It’s worth noting that, while Hatred developer Destructive Creations advertises their game as having an AO rating and indeed their Steam page shows one as well, the game doesn’t appear to have actually been officially submitted for rating to the ESRB. Instead, they submitted a rating questionnaire that came back with the AO rating and are advertising that instead. All the same, Twitch is taking a clear stance on this and with the game just days away, it’s hard not to think this policy change is related.
And yes, BMX XXX was a real game. I’ll let you decide whether or not you want to type that one into Google.