The developer of Yandere Simulator has uploaded a video to the game's official YouTube channel detailing a response e-mail that he received from Twitch relating to the game being banned for streaming on the service. The video was accompanied by a short blog post on the game's official development blog. The game was initially banned from the service in January 2016. Take a peek at the video for yourself here:
Please bear in mind that we have not independently verified this e-mail at the time of writing, but we have reached out to Twitch and the developer of Yandere Simulator for comment on the matter as well. This article going forward will summarize the content of the e-mail as shown, as well as the commentary of the developer.
Four items were listed as reasons for the game being banned from the service at the time it was reviewed. First, two gameplay modes were considered as depicting characters in the nude. Secondly, a mechanic where the player takes panty shots (that is, photos of a woman's underwear underneath her skirt) to use as a sort of blackmail currency in the game. After that, they stated that they took issue with the only way to eliminate rivals was through murder. Finally, they stated that the "setting, intent of gameplay, and age of victims" indicated that the game was about violence and sexual harassment of underage children.
The developer of Yandere Simulator then states that he is able to dispute these listed points. Nudity was removed from "Titan Mode," an easter egg that had gigantic students depicted in a manner similar to the Titans of Attack on Titan. As for other areas of the game, he states that he would be perfectly fine with putting any nude characters in Yandere Simulator in towels. He states that there are other games with panty-shot mechanics but that he would be fine with removing the game mechanic and replacing it with something else. As for murdering rivals, he states that that is no longer the only way to remove rivals from the game as of the current build. Additionally, he states that the player is "strongly discouraged from slaughtering students indiscriminately," citing gameplay mechanics where the game gets more difficult if you wantonly or recklessly murder fellow students.
As for the last bullet point, the developer states that it seems "out of place" on this list. He refers to the Twitch Community Guidelines and states that there is nothing in there that stipulates that a game is allowed to depict the murder of adults but not allowed the depict the murder of children. Another example he brings up is the lack of a stipulation about where you can kill people, stating that there is nothing that says "you can kill people in a city, but you can't kill people in a school." He also states that the preceding three bullet points are "a clear cut black and white issue," but he considers the notion of a game being prohibited because of its setting or the identity of victims "is close to banning it because you personally find it distasteful rather than because it violates a rule."
This video was posted around a year after Yandere Simulator was initially banned from Twitch. In it, the developer of the game outlines his complaints with the ban and warns other developers about the potential problems he feels they might encounter with the service.After the bullet points, the e-mail states that "simply removing these elements today would not ensure removal from our list of prohibited games." The e-mail acknowledges that other titles have similar gameplay elements, and it states that Twitch is reluctant to review a game whose development is still in progress. The e-mail states that they would be happy to review the game again once it is feature complete and further recommends that the game get a rating from the ESRB "to seek additional guidance."
Following the reading and the commentary on the e-mail, the developer concedes that were he in Twitch's position he may have made the same decision. However, he states that he "would not have taken thirteen months to say so," referring to the amount of time since the game was initially banned. He then talks about what he sees as double standards of Twitch. Specifically, he cites the nudity present in Conan Exiles and how the nudity was prominently featured with seemingly no repercussions as far as he could see. He alleges that this is evidence of Twitch selectively enforcing their terms of service and using them to ban games they don't like, and he calls it "a perfect example of how Twitch is not consistent about enforcing their own rules."
The developer refers back to an earlier statement in the e-mail where Twitch says that they do not review a game until they have received a report from a user. He states that he is certain that there has been reports about the nudity in Conan Exiles considering the popularity of the game on Twitch. (At the time of writing, there are over 6,000 people watching across dozens of streams of Conan Exiles.) He then asks that if Twitch is arbitrarily enforcing their rules, why should he trust Twitch's explanation for why his game was banned? The video also includes a graphic showing Hunie Pop in comparison to Conan Exiles, listing the content of the respective games. It states, in essence, how Conan Exiles violates the Twitch Community Guidelines, Hunie Pop does not, and yet Hunie Pop is banned on Twitch and Conan Exiles is not. He states that it creates the impression that Twitch uses the community guidelines as an excuse to "ban whatever they don't like."
At the end, the Yandere Simulator dev states that his most likely course of action will be asking Twitch to re-evaluate the game once it's complete; he estimates that it will be two years before the game reaches that point. He expects that this video will be his final video on the subject of his game being banned from Twitch and concludes with thanking his audience for following along with the game's "Twitch saga" as well as the last few years of development. In the meantime, we've reached out to Twitch and the developer of the game for comment.
If you haven't yet checked out Yandere Simulator, you can download it from multiple places linked at the game's official website. Be forewarned, the game is very much a continual work-in-progress and an honest-to-goodness "We're testing the game, stuff will break, saves may disappear" style Alpha.
Update: We received a response from YandereDev. In his response, he details his complaints about the matter and his motivations for making the initial video - namely, that he wanted answers from Twitch as to why his game was banned. He was also kind enough to provide the e-mail from Twitch showing communications on the matter of Yandere Simulator being banned; the communications take place over the course of almost a year. We are still seeking further information on this matter and will update you when we have more.
Quick TakeAssuming that the e-mail is genuine, I think that this pretty clearly shows favoritism on Twitch's part. Nudity in a game is not okay as a primary feature ... unless you're a big budget AAA title. Then it's totally okay to break the rules left and right. I think their justification for the ban of Yandere Simulator (and, while we're at it, both HuniePop and HunieCam Studio) are complete and total hogwash. While there are plenty of games that are absolutely justifiably banned from the service, I don't think that Yandere Simulator or the Hunie Pop games fit the bill. It certainly smells like double standards and selective enforcement of their Terms of Service.
What do you think of the e-mail that the developer of Yandere Simulator received from Twitch? Do you agree with their justification for the ban? Do you think that Twitch applies its Terms of Service fairly or do you think that they show favoritism to certain games? Let us know in the comments below!