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Twitch's Artifact Category Is Porn-Filled Anarchy (NSFW)

By Nathan Grayson on at

There are, as you are probably already aware, not many people playing Artifact, the digital card game that developer Valve recently decided to take back to the drawing board. Just a hundred or so people are playing it at any given moment, as of this writing. There are, however, over 10,000 people watching streamers play Artifact on Twitch right now. Why? Because for the most part, these Artifact “players” aren’t playing Artifact at all, but watching other games, anime, memes, and porn.

(NSFW Warning: This post contains images of nudity, as well as some grotesque cartoon imagery.)

It’s not uncommon for Twitch streamers to mis-categorise their streams, whether by accident, as part of a cheeky joke, or to stand out from the crowd and draw more viewers. For example, I just scrolled through the notoriously inconsistent “Just Chatting” section and found a handful of people playing video games and, in one case, illegally broadcasting UFC events.

Artifact, however, has recently become a lightning rod for this sort of behaviour, with only a small minority of streamers in the section actually broadcasting legit Artifact gameplay. Otherwise, the section has devolved into chaos, with people streaming everything from other games to straight-up porn. Over the weekend, someone got away with streaming a recording of the Christchurch massacre, reportedly for over 30 minutes before their channel was banned from Twitch. The sheer overwhelming unpredictability of what people are doing with the Artifact section, it seems, served as a smokescreen for truly heinous (and, obviously, rule-breaking) content. Twitch has since faced criticism for how slowly it reacted.

In response, Twitch issued a statement, saying that it has temporarily disabled new accounts’ ability to livestream.

“Over the weekend we became aware of a number of accounts targeting the ‘Artifact’ game directory to share content that grossly violates our terms of service,” the company told Kotaku in an email. “Our investigations uncovered that the majority of accounts that shared and viewed the content were automated accounts. We are working with urgency to remove the offending content and suspend all accounts engaged in this behaviour. In addition, we have temporarily suspended the ability for new creators to stream. We take these violations very seriously and are taking measures to prevent this kind of coordinated activity on our service in the future.”

Despite that, users in the section continue to play non-Artifact games, illicitly stream shows like My Hero Academia and Rick and Morty, and do the strangest shit I have ever witnessed with my two eyes.

Here’s a screenshot I took of just a few of the things people are streaming under the clever guise of a card game barely anyone cares about anymore:

Yep, there’s anime porn and Overwatch porn. Something for everyone, really. With Twitch staff banning a lot of these channels as quickly as possible, streamers have retaliated by superimposing tiny squares of Artifact “gameplay” on top of what they’re really watching or playing. For example, here’s somebody broadcasting some kind of pop music pageant:

Don’t worry, though! There’s Artifact gameplay in the upper-right corner, and below that, there’s text that reads “REAL GAMEPLAY. STAFF THERE IS NOTHING TO BAN HERE.”

Here’s another screenshot from the Artifact section and— wait, what is that?

Enhance. More. More.

Oh god no.

This all began, according to Dot Esports, with a streamer named NymN, who got into a habit of checking in on Twitch’s Artifact section daily to marvel at the fact that nobody was streaming it. Then, 11 days ago, he discovered something: a single meme stream playing a terrifying remix of a song from Yoshi’s Island. The stream also included text that said, “Daily quest: get NymN to click this link twice.” In the days that followed, these sorts of streams proliferated, at first referencing NymN, and then branching out into more generalised meme madness.

And now, here we are: Artifact, a game hardly anyone is actually playing, has over 10,000 concurrent viewers. Twitch is clearly playing whack-a-mole with these streams, as I’ve watched many with 100 concurrents or more quickly vanish. However, as evidenced by all the porn, whatever that Mario thing was, and especially the Christchurch video, the company’s current approach has yet to have much of an impact.

Featured image: Twitch

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