Twitch bans nude, suggestive gaming

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By Doug Gross, CNN
Twitch, on which users broadcast images of themselves playing video games, was purchased by Yahoo in August.
Twitch, on which users broadcast images of themselves playing video games, was purchased by Yahoo in August.

(CNN) -- Looks like it's a bad time to be sexing up your publicly viewable video gaming.

With debate swirling over treatment of women in gaming, Twitch, a service that lets users broadcast themselves playing games or watch others doing so, has banned "wearing no clothing or sexually suggestive clothing" in posts on the site.

"Nerds are sexy, and you're all magnificent, beautiful creatures, but let's try and keep this about the games, shall we?" reads a section titled "Dress ... appropriately" in Twitch's Rules of Conduct, which were updated Tuesday.

Boasting more than 55 million monthly visitors, Twitch was purchased by Amazon in August for a reported $970 million. The near billion-dollar price tag, combined with the fact that other tech heavyweights like Google were also pursuing a deal, highlights the massive popularity that video gaming has amassed as a spectator sport.

Under the new rules, gamers can be suspended from Twitch for nudity or broadcasting themselves wearing items "including lingerie, swimsuits, pasties, and undergarments."

While dealing with a serious issue, the rules maintain a playful tone.

"You may have a great six-pack, but that's better shared on the beach during a 2-on-2 volleyball game blasting 'Playing with the Boys,'" read the rules, with a link to the iconic scene of that nature from the movie "Top Gun."

"If it's unbearably hot where you are, and you happen to have your shirt off (gents) or a bikini top (ladies), then just crop the webcam to your face. If your lighting is hot, get fluorescent bulbs to reduce the heat. Xbox One Kinect doesn't zoom? Move it closer to you, or turn it off. There is always a workaround."

While the post's wording goes out of its way to note the rules apply to both men and women, it comes at a time when female game developers, journalists and players have been targeted with death and rape threats, among other abuse, linked to the so-called GamerGate movement.

Behind the furor over GamerGate

Ostensibly about ethics in video-game journalism, the movement quickly targeted "social justice warriors," most of them women, who questioned the portrayal of women in video games as well as the treatment of women in the community.

Most recently, actress Felicia Day, known for the gaming-oriented Web series "The Guild," had her email and real-world address posted online less than an hour after a blog post in which she criticized GamerGate. Day had written that she feared retribution when she decided to share her views on the movement.

In recent weeks, game designer Zoe Quinn, gaming critic Anita Sarkeesian and game designer Brianna Wu have all received threats of violence on Twitter and other platforms.