Yandere Simulator is the latest game to get banned from Twitch. If you stream Yandere Simulator, you could get banned, too. Thing is, the developer making the game doesn't exactly know why Twitch made this call. He's willing to change some things, if they'd consider lifting the ban, but Twitch isn't talking to him. Note: The screen shots featured in this article may be Not Safe For Work.
In development since 2014, Yandere Simulator is being made by a single person who only goes by the name YandereDev. (When asked, he refused to disclose his real name.) In Yandere Simulator, players control Ayano Aishi, a young Japanese school girl fixated on earning the affection of a boy, Taro Yamada at all costs. As evidenced in the screen shot above, Ayano is willing to go to extremes for love.
The game isn't done yet, but fans have already gravitated to the game. Unfinished versions are regularly uploaded to the game's website, and its YouTube channel has nearly 400,000 subscribers. It's already popular, and the fandom has written songs about it, drawn fan art, and built a community.
It's not just a game about killing rival girls, though, and that's probably not the reason it caused Twitch to ban it.
There's the steamy shower sections:
There's the ability to change your character's underwear:
There's the opportunity to take underskirt shots:
There's the easter egg that turns the school girls into naked giants:
You get the idea.
It's unclear whether the violence, sexual content, or premise did the game in. Twitch has not explained what caused Yandere Simulator to get banned, nor did the company elaborate when I asked them about it. Twitch only pointed me to its terms of service agreement, which lists the other games banned on Twitch.
Below is a list of games that are currently prohibited from broadcast on our services. We have determined that the content or focus of these specific games violate our Terms of Service or Rules of conduct, thus we do not allow them to be broadcast in any capacity.
It's been nearly a day since Yandere Simulator was added to the list, and though Twitch spoke with me about the game, they haven't yet talked to YandereDev.
"Twitch.tv is, by far, the most dominant game streaming website on the Internet," said YandereDev. "Twitch almost has a monopoly on game streaming. There are some noteworthy competitors, but Twitch's reach and visibility is beyond anything else available. As a result, when Twitch refuses to allow a certain game to be broadcasted, it deprives that game of a lot of visibility."
That doesn't matter as much right now, since Yandere Simulator won't be finished for "a long time" and YandereDev won't pursue any advertising for at least another year or so. Of course, the game could still be banned at that time.
All YandereDev wants to do is have a conversation with Twitch, which seems reasonable. Twitch isn't a young upstart -- it's a company that was bought by Amazon for $US1.1 ($2) billion. Banning a game directly and substantially impacts it.
"It frustrates me greatly to hear about games getting censored," said YandereDev. "I've always been strongly against censorship, even when the subject being censored was unimportant to me. First they will censor things that you don't care about, then they will censor things that you do care about, and then they will censor you. You have to protect all things from censorship, even the things you don't care about, to protect yourself and the things you care about."
Thing is, YandereDev is willing to bend a little bit. He's willing to ditch the giant, nude school girls, which he says are a nod to Attack on Titan. He's willing to make the characters' ages ambiguous or turn the setting into an "academy" rather than a high school. To YandereDev, none of these infringe on his core design, but without any communication from Twitch, he's left in the dark.
"I doubt that this would change Twitch's mind if they simply don't like the idea of a game that allows slaughtering students in a school setting," he said.
That doesn't mean YandereDev is willing to do everything for Twitch, however.
"If Twitch has a problem with one of the game's core mechanics, such as panty shots or bullying, then we'll be at an impasse," he said, "because I don't want to remove entire features from the game."
Even if you think Yandere Simulator is a little creepy, the developer has a point. Twitch isn't being open and honest about their policies, and that's frustrating.
"If nudity bothers them, I wonder why they allow Outlast to be streamed," he said. "If torture bothers them, I wonder why they allow Grand Theft Auto 5 to be streamed. If bullying bothers them, I wonder why they allow Bully to be streamed. If graphic violence bothers them, I wonder why they allow Mortal Kombat X to be streamed."
Outlast, for example, has a section where the male character is nude, strapped to a table, and their penis is visibly shown and nearly mutilated. It's not sexual, though, a key distinction with Yandere Simulator. Sexuality hasn't put games like The Witcher 3, which features a number of graphic sex scenes, on the list.
I'm guessing these are more case-by-case calls by Twitch, and rather than Yandere Simulator crossing any particular line, they felt it didn't "fit" Twitch.
"It would be very nice if Twitch clearly stated why each of the games on their 'banned game list' is prohibited," he said.
As far as I know, there hasn't been an instance where a banned game was removed from Twitch's list, and the company didn't respond to my questions about what Yandere Simulator could do differently. All we can do is guess.