Following the response from Twitch regarding the streaming ban of Yandere Simulator, we reached out to both Twitch and Yandere Dev for any further comment on the matter and to ask a few questions. Twitch responded that they do not comment on matters regarding Terms of Service violations. Yandere Dev replied with a lengthy e-mail and answered a few of our follow-up questions.
The e-mail and interview center around the conclusion (for the moment, anyway) of the "Twitch Saga" (as Yandere Dev calls it) in which Yandere Simulator was banned from streaming on the platform. Yandere Dev's most recent video on the topic echoes many of his thoughts espoused in the following e-mail and interview. Give it a watch if you'd like:
The following e-mail represents the response from Yandere Dev to our request for comment regarding the ban of Yandere Simulator from Twitch. The core of the e-mail is being presented here wholly unaltered. However, the usual pleasantries and minor commentary separate from this response from Yandere Dev have been left out for readability's sake. Following the e-mail, we have a mini interview with Yandere Dev.
My "In Defense of Twitch" VideoAfter responding to our initial request for comment so comprehensively, we had a few more questions for Yandere Dev. These resulted in a sort of mini-interview. Here's what we asked him and what he had to say:
First, I'd like to explain why I created the "In Defense of Twitch" video. After creating my "A Warning To All Game Developers" video, I was contacted by an employee of Twitch. He wasn't speaking to me as an official representative, and he couldn't tell me why the game was banned; he just wanted to give me some advice on how to reach a solution. He suggested that it was possible that Twitch wasn't responding to me because it seemed like I was only trying to generate publicity for my game by dragging Twitch's reputation through the mud. He said that I was more likely to receive a response from Twitch if I made it clear that my goal was to reach a solution, not to attract media attention. I decided that it would be smart to take his advice, and so I created a much less confrontational video. I genuinely wanted answers, NOT publicity, and I was willing to make an entire video just to prove this to Twitch.
It was very difficult for me to make a video where I had to backpedal on my own words, invalidate all of my own points, and excuse Twitch's poor customer service...but I did it anyway, because I hoped that it would make Twitch more willing to speak with me. In the end, Twitch did actually respond to me, so maybe it really was the right course of action.
I think that Twitch was fully aware that the game was banned for no good reason; I think they knew that they couldn't possibly justify banning Yandere Simulator while allowing games like Stick of Truth. I think that they were silent for 13 months because they knew that they didn't have any kind of satisfactory explanation whatsoever.
On top of that, there was something else, too: Twitch knew that if they ever publicly named a reason why Yandere Simulator was banned, people would scrutinize their reason. If they stayed silent, nobody could scrutinize anything. They would prefer to be criticized for a lack of communication, rather than be criticized for whatever reason they decided to give, so they stayed silent for a year, until I started calling them out for it.
This is why I threw them some bones in my "In Defense of Twitch" video. I gave them some excuses that they could use; the nudity, and the fact that there weren't any pacifistic elimination methods at the time. I provided them with a few plausible excuses for banning the game, so that they'd finally be able to say something. This was supposed to be the starting point of a dialogue, but instead, their reply made it clear that they had zero interest in discussing conditions for unbanning the game, or re-evaluating the game anytime in the near future.
The fact that they didn't reply to me for 13 months - and don't want to re-evaluate the game until it's finished 2 years from now - paints an image of a very lazy company that doesn't lift a finger to do anything unless it's absolutely necessary.
Disputing Twitch's Reasons
I tried to provide Twitch with a list of plausible reasons why they might have banned the game, so that we could start a dialogue. Their reply featured some of the reasons that I suggested. With that said, everything on their bullet-point list was such a flimsy reason to ban the game...
No nipples or genitals were visible; the characters were like barbie dolls. It shouldn't count as nudity. Besides this, many other games also involve actual nudity, and those games aren't banned.
- Two gameplay modes depicting characters in the nude.
This feature is in other games that aren't banned from Twitch.
- A mechanic in which the player takes panty shots to use as currency for favors from others.
This is actually quite a silly reason to ban a game; in many games, violence is the only way to advance.
- The only method of eliminating rivals was to murder them.
There is nothing in Twitch's terms of service that forbids games that involve violence in a school setting, or violence against underage characters. Additionally: sexual harassment isn't the focus of the game, it's a completely optional feature.
- The setting, intent of gameplay, and age of victims indicate the game is about violence against and sexual harassment of underage characters in a school setting.
In other words, Yandere Sim never should have been banned in the first place. Its content is not any worse than anything that can be found in other games that are permitted on Twitch. South Park: Stick of Truth is a prime example.
My final thoughts on the Twitch situation are as follows:
- I've asked numerous Twitch streamers and viewers if they think that Yandere Simulator deserves to be banned, and they've all said "No". Twitch should ban games based on what they hear from their users, rather than ban games based on how someone in the moderation team feels about the game.
- Yandere Simulator's development is not moving at a lightning-fast speed, and I always post changelogs and videos detailing all of the newest content. It would take about 5 minutes per month for Twitch to re-evaluate the game's content. It's not something that would actually cost them an inordinate amount of time/money/resources. It's a flimsy reason to deny unbanning the game.
- Yandere Simulator has 1.3 million subscribers on YouTube. Yandere Simulator has been played by big-name YouTubers like Pewdiepie, Markiplier, and Jacksepticeye. Yandere Simulator was downloaded somewhere between 7 million and 10 million times in 2016. If Yandere Simulator was some kind of gross sexual child porn game, would any of these things be true? Twitch's perception of the game is probably based on a cursory glance, and not a complete understanding of the game's actual focus.
TechRaptor: What did you hear that led you to believe there is an anime bias at Twitch?
Yandere Dev: The abundance of anime-themed games on the banned list, and the lack of western games with similar / worse content on the banned list, was almost enough to make me draw the conclusion myself. However, a few anecdotes made the theory seem more plausible.
Several individuals attempted to help me discover the reason why the game was banned by speaking to Twitch staff/admins/global moderators whenever they were spotted in a channel's chatroom. There was never an official statement from [a] Twitch spokesperson, but there were a few offhand remarks like "Lol, that dumb anime game is never getting unbanned." If the remark had been "Lol, that dumb game is never getting unbanned", without any reference to the anime-themed nature of the game, then I would be far less likely to suspect an anti-anime bias at Twitch. Aside from a handful of second-hand anecdotes involving passing remarks made by Twitch staff, there is no cold, hard, solid evidence of an anti-anime bias.
TR: What advice can you offer to developers in a similar situation?
YD: There is no advice that can be given. Twitch has no obligation to be consistent, no obligation to be fair, and no obligation to be helpful. It doesn't matter how you try to contact them, how willing you are to cooperate with them, or how persistent you are. If they don't feel like speaking to you, they won't. This is the impression that I have come away with after my experience with Twitch.
TR: Do you think there are other unfairly banned games on Twitch (other than what you have already mentioned)?
YD: This is a [gray] area. Some games (like RapeLay) are very obviously intended to be pornographic. Other games (like [Genital] Jousting) involve [genitalia] but aren't meant to be sexually arousing. Other games (like What's Under Your Blanket) involve sexual acts, but don't display any visible genitalia, and were created for humor/novelty value, rather than to be pornographic.
Instead of only "Banned" or "Not Banned", there should be a third category; "18+ only". There is already a checkmark in the Twitch dashboard that allows streamers to denote that their streams should only be viewed by adults. I feel that it's reasonable to ban pornographic games, but I think that non-pornographic games with sexual themes or genitalia should merely be limited to an 18+ audience, instead of being outright banned from the platform.
TR: You've been a longtime supporter and fan of Twitch. Has this experience changed or will it change the way you use the site?
YD: My opinion of Twitch has dropped, due to their failure to answer my inquiries over the course of 13 months, and their unsatisfactory reasons for banning Yandere Simulator. I can't shake the feeling that they banned the game because they personally dislike it, and I believe that they are very hypocritical for banning Yandere Simulator while permitting other games with even more extreme content.
13 months ago, I began boycotting Twitch's paid services (Twitch Turbo, channel subscriptions, bit donations) with the intention of doing so for as long as Twitch was failing to respond to me. Immediately after Twitch responded to me, I subscribed to several of my favorite broadcasters. I don't respect Twitch's decision regarding my game, and I don't like putting money in Twitch's pocket, but I am very fond of many users and broadcasters in the Twitch community, and I intend to continue using Twitch to interact with the people I have befriended on the site.
While Yandere Simulator is not currently able to be streamed on Twitch, the development of the game presses ever onward. If you'd like to check out the development build of the game, you can head over to the game's official website and grab it for yourself. Be forewarned, this is a technical pre-alpha and not a "marketing" alpha - things can and do change with some frequency, so don't necessarily count on your save games sticking around for future versions.
What do you think of what Yandere Dev had to say about the "Twitch Saga"? Do you agree with his perception of the streaming service considering how they appear to have handled this situation? What do you think they should have done and should do in regards to Yandere Dev and his game? Let us know in the comments below!