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Twitch Bans Streaming of Games Rated AO

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Twitch’s latest update to their official rules of conduct included a clarification on adult content. As of May 27, the video game streaming website has banned the steaming of games rated AO, or “Adult Only.”

“Today, we’re updating the RoC with regard to Adult Only (AO) games,” a Twitch staff member said in their latest blog post. “Simply put, AO games are not welcome on Twitch.”

Fortunately, it’s rare for a game to receive an AO rating – the ESRB rating website includes a list of very obscure games, the exception being Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas. However, Twitch’s update to the rules couldn’t have come at a worse time for those planning on streaming Hatred, the controversial Indie shooter set to release next month. Unlike Grand Theft Auto V or Saint’s Row, where the emphasis is placed on separate goals, Hatred rewards the player for killing as many people as possible in the most brutal ways the engine allows.

Since the game has already attracted media attention and censorship for its gratuitous shock value style of violence, and given the general obscurity of AO games, it’s easy to say Twitch is simply joining the ranks of companies refusing to take part in Hatred’s promotion. Even digital download service GOG refuses to sell the game, according to developer Destructive Creations.

Hatred will not be available on GOG.com, even though gamers widely expected this to happen, because of GOG’s refusal to distribute the game,” Destructive explained in a press release. GOG reportedly expressed interest in the game, but could not distribute it for undisclosed reasons. Interestingly, Mortal Kombat X has not been banned from the streaming service, although the level of brutality in the game is about the same, if not higher than Hatred‘s. There’s plenty of confusion surrounding the game’s condemnation for violence, but its status as an indie game rather than a game created by an established developer may have a lot to do with its reception.

Anticipating the backlash regarding the decision, Twitch stressed their desire to create a “safe, welcoming, inclusive community platform.”

“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,” Twitch said. “This is unsustainable and unclear, generating only further confusion among Twitch broadcasters. We would like to make this policy as transparent as possible.”

Hatred will be available on Steam on June 1st. If you plan on attempting to stream the game, this thread includes a list of alternative streaming services for games.

About Deborah Crocker

Deborah is a 22 year old semi-hermit currently plodding through her senior year of college and getting her feet wet in game journalism. She has a somewhat unhealthy obsession with high fantasy, video games, novels, and Elder Scrolls. When she's not in front of a screen, she enjoys singing and a bit of beading. She's also currently on the hunt for the restaurant with the best cheeseburger.

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