Back in February and March there was a bit of a hoo-ha over streaming service Twitch apparently prohibiting the streaming of Second Life. A Second Life user who had not been streaming anything remotely adult via Twitch had received a suspension. The user had actually been streaming script creation in Second Life.
This caused a bit of confusion as nothing on the Twitch site seemed to suggest Second Life was not allowed. However adult content was forbidden. Eventually, Iris Ophelia over at New World Notes received a reply from Twitch :
Second Life is not permitted for streaming and those accounts reported for doing so will be suspended. Content in this game is unrated and often sexually explicity, which is content we do not allow on our services. We also do not permit Adults-Only rated games and games where nudity is the core focus, feature, or goal.
Discussion then ensued as to whether nudity was a core feature or goal of Second Life. I still maintain it isn’t! The ambiguity from Twitch was also a frustration but their rules of conduct have recently became far less ambiguous. In a blog post entitled Rules of Conduct Update: Adult Oriented Games, Twitch explain :
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.
Furthermore, there’s a list of titles that are explicitly listed as prohibited by Twitch and Second Life is amongst those titles.
The official, but brief list of explicitly banned titles are :
- BMX XXX
- Dramatical Murder
- Hunie Pop
- Sakura Spirit
- Second Life
There are a few more titles listed which have an AO rating from the ESRB, such as the forthcoming controversial game Hatred, as examples of AO games. They do not list all AO titles. However in a confusing attempt at clarity, Twitch go on to explain :
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.
I’m not really sure that adds any clarity or that it will prevent people from thinking they are allowed to stream the AO rated versions of those titles.
I maintain that Twitch’s decision on Second Life is short sighted and full of ignorance, I mean it was only earlier this month that Eric Grundhauser of Atlas Obscura visited Second Life, with some trepidation :
To be honest, when I decided to delve into Second Life, I half-expected to find a dying world of outsiders and bronies gleefully recreating pornographic impossibilities.
However Eric did not realise his worst fears, indeed he said :
But that simply doesn’t seem to be true. What I found, and mind you, I was only able to visit a strikingly miniscule portion of the available spaces, was that Second Life is still a fascinating and vital world that is constantly changing and pushing the boundaries of what a virtual space can be. Doctors, universities, hobbyists, sci-fi fans, artists, and inexplicable curiosities can all be found operating in SL, by those willing to look.
Eric’s article, entitled Forgotten Wonders Of The Digital World: Second Life, is a very good read and I understand that this article was widely discussed whilst I was on holiday.
Yes there are adult themes in Second Life, but there are many parts of Second Life with Doctors, universities, hobbyists, sci-fi fans, artists and inexplicable curiosities if you look. Alas if you’re looking via Twitch, you won’t be allowed to see any of them, it’s a shame that a platform based on people viewing content aren’t prepared to view content elsewhere with a more open mind.