Robert Yang, the developer and scholar behind the locker room-set, playable social commentary Rinse and Repeat, has called a Twitch policy that resulted in his game's prohibition from the service "fucking disgraceful."
As he did in a pair of tweets acknowledging the game's addition to Twitch's blacklist, he noted in a post sharing his thoughts on the ban that while the censorship is, in a way, "validating," "the Twitch policy about sex and nudity is shitty ... and also really unhealthy for video games as an artform."
Twitch's rules of conduct state that "nudity can't be a core focus or feature" of a streamed game, and Rinse and Repeat's shower-based gameplay fits that description. Yet Yang feels that the rule "erases the context of the work and ignores how the nudity is presented," he writes. "Instead [Twitch focuses] on a nonsensical formal distinction where ‘nudity is OK if it's only a fraction of the game.'"
Mass Effect, Metal Gear Solid and Dead or Alive are a few of the titles which he considers to unfairly receive an OK despite their tendency towards what he considers to be "unnecessary exploitative bullshit." This is because games from these series feature bodies, particularly female, on display in a manner he considers overtly sexual.
Twitch's prerogative to completely remove streams featuring a major amount of nudity regardless of "why" differs from how other video services operate. Yang referenced YouTube and Vimeo's policies specifically, as each of these sites feature language allowing the artistic or non-gratuitous display of the human body in their rules.
In his write-up of the game's development, which he shared to accompany its launch, the queer scholar addresses its central themes of male homosexual social constructs, such as the hierarchy of power and structure of consent within the community. These ideas qualify what is, in Yang's view, a warranted deployment of nudity.
Ultimately calling for a nuanced revision of the livestreaming site's policy, the developer argued that "the idea that nudity and sex are allowed on Twitch, only when it's tangential and exploitative, is a ... rather regrettable policy." He added that "it sends conservative messages for what is allowed to be a ‘real game', and discourages artistic experimentation from developers for fear of being banned from Twitch."
This is apparently not the first time the provocative developer has been subject to Twitch's steadfast anti-nudity clause: His game Cobra Club, "a free photo studio game about body image, privacy, and dick pics," is also banned. Both games are available for download.
We have reached out to a representative for Twitch for comment and will update with more as we receive it.
Update: Regarding Yang's comments, a representative for Twitch stated via email that "Our Terms of Service address our stance on content that is not allowed."