Twitch Taking A Harder Look At PS4’s Playroom After Livestream Mayhem

Twitch Taking A Harder Look At PS4’s Playroom After Livestream Mayhem

In light of the recent livestream antics on Playroom, the PlayStation 4 augmented-reality game set in players’ living rooms, has felt compelled to restate its terms of use, which in effect forbids “non-gaming content.” For those who use Playroom (shown above), it sounds like a crackdown.

To recap, the PlayStation 4 allows livestreaming to Twitch (as well as to Ustream) of games you’re playing, through the Live From PlayStation feature. Playroom, a free title that requires the PlayStation Eye camera (for PS4), films a user’s living room, as its object is to create the illusion of playing the game in your home.

People have used Playroom for off-topic purposes, however, in one case turning a livestream into a kind of call-in show. In another, a husband and wife appeared to drink themselves into a stupor and, after a brief blackout in the broadcast, the woman appeared totally nude. Twitch banned the account associated with that broadcast.

Yesterday evening, as news of these practices spread, Twitch sent out a series of tweets that seemed to reset the rules in light of the abuses seen on Playroom.

FYI: We continue to moderate according to our Terms of Service. Non-gaming content is not allowed. 1/2

— Twitch Support (@TwitchTVSupport) November 24, 2013

Non-gaming content (c): If using PS4 Playroom, the content must be about games or gaming and within our ToS. Thanks for understanding. 2/2

— Twitch Support (@TwitchTVSupport) November 24, 2013

Discussing gaming is gaming content. There are numerous such channels on Twitch, such as One More Game.

— Twitch Support (@TwitchTVSupport) November 24, 2013

Concurrently, this thread began on Reddit’s Games subreddit, in which the user alleges Twitch is banning Playroom users no questions asked, even legitimate ones. “A few minutes ago there was a guy having sex with his partner on the couch,” the original poster says. “Why didn’t they see this coming? Beats me.”

The top commenting Redditor in the post summarized the hazards of livestreaming and the unintended consequences for which everyone — legitimate users, Sony and Twitch — now seem unprepared.

I’m amazed that there doesn’t seem to be any “hey, before you hit the stream button, here’s a brief explanation of twitch, what it’s all about, streaming etiquette, how to stay in control of things when someone from /v/ or neogaf links to your channel, and what to expect when you go live” guide or warning.

We reached out to a representative to ask whether the service was indeed cracking down specifically on Playroom, and got this statement.

As Twitch continues to attract new broadcasters, we want to keep our terms of service top of mind and reiterate we are a destination for video game-related content. We also have a team, supported by a predominantly positive minded community, that works around the clock to ensure our TOS is being adhered to. It is at the discretion of our partners to determine which Twitch features are integrated into their hardware and software.

The Playroom livestreams are accessible on the PS4 through the Live from PlayStation app, and broadcasts from a specific game are searchable by that title. As these livestreams are done through a user’s Twitch account, they are viewable over the web as well.

That said, as I wrote yesterday, Playroom could become shorthand for anything-goes behaviour, similar to the notorious UNO on the Xbox 360, which offered camera support to show players and devolved into a parade of nudity. Twitch appears to be taking a very close look at the game from its end; it would not surprise me, again, to now see Sony somehow limit Playroom or remove it from the Live From PlayStation app to keep the game from spiraling into the kind of infamy for which UNO is still known.

To contact the author of this post, write to or find him on Twitter @owengood.

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