Banned Twitch Streamer Can't Even Show His Face On Roommates' Streams [Update]

Illustration for article titled Banned Twitch Streamer Cant Even Show His Face On Roommates Streams [Update]
Image: Hyphonix

Twitch streamer Hyphonix admits that he’s made some “mistakes.” A lot of mistakes, in fact. Enough to get himself suspended from Twitch on nine different occasions. Because of that, his current suspension is 30 days long. Problem: he lives in a house with two other full-time streamers, and if he shows up on their streams, he could be perma-banned from Twitch.

Hyphonix lives in a house in Los Angeles with fellow streamers Alfie and Black, with whom he moved in five months ago. They stream nearly around the clock, with Alfie recently boasting of a 41-hour marathon stream, among other things. Due to the terms of his latest suspension, Hyphonix cannot appear on anyone’s stream even just as a disembodied voice. It’s harder than it sounds when that’s all that’s ever happening in your own home. Hyphonix, banned from streaming and stranded on a streamer island of his own making, is now dealing with the most 2018 dilemma imaginable.

Hyphonix believes the suspension came as the result of him taking off his shirt after covering himself in tomato sauce as part of a stream in which he protested against Twitch’s new dress code and terms of service. A few days in, the solitude is already starting to get to him. Yesterday, he voiced his frustrations on Twitter, describing the situation as “depressing” and pleading with Twitch to “let me talk with my roommates, please.”


He elaborated to Kotaku in a DM, saying that he has to tell his housemates to turn their cameras off and mute their mics any time he walks by. If they don’t, they could get in trouble, and he could find himself staring down the barrel of a perma-ban, rather than his current temporary one.

“Since I’m banned,” he said, “I just can’t live in the household that I reside in trying to live a normal life. I have to be an outcast in order to protect myself and them as well.”

It’s a hole that Hyphonix has played no small role in digging himself into. When he’s not playing games like Runescape (and sometimes when he is), he pulls boundary-pushing stunts that involve everything from destruction of property to pouring a variety of liquids on himself to, on a couple of occasions, nudity. He’s a self-described “edgy” streamer who, in his own words, “just wants to be stupid.” But Twitch’s community guidelines specifically prohibit nudity in most circumstances, as well as any activities that “may endanger your life or lead to your physical harm.” You can be naked, stupid, or both, but not on Twitch.


In this particular case, Hyphonix understands why he got suspended, but he also feels like his infraction was relatively minor. But this is his tenth suspension from the service, and these things have a way of adding up. Hyphonix believes that this is probably his “last chance.”

Ironically, Hyphonix says he first moved into the house because streaming can be a pretty lonely gig. “Talking to a computer screen with thousands of live viewers does not always give the fulfillment you want in life,” he said. “So we moved in, as an attempt to make quality of life better for each other, not use each other for easy self-gain.”


Of course, it doesn’t hurt to have other streamers living with you, given that more streamers means more sweet, sweet Content (TM). Now, however, Hyphonix is on his own, and his future is uncertain. Some fans are encouraging him to go outside and find a hobby, while others are repeating a refrain that’s become increasingly common among streamers who don’t care to follow Twitch’s rules: move to YouTube, where the rules are more lax. But only the most loyal of his followers would join Hyphonix in taking that blind leap, so he’s playing things as safe as possible for now.


Moving to another home is not currently on the table. Hyphonix described his current streamer house as more of a “family” than a business, free of the competitive drama that divides many similar living arrangements. There’s even a silver lining to it if he gets perma-banned from Twitch.

“If my ban was to be a perma,” he said, “I’d move to YouTube live-streaming but still live in the same household, because streaming would be more IRL outside rather than being indoors.”


Given the current situation, the outdoors sound like exactly what Hyphonix needs right now.

Update - 5:00 PM, 3/14/18: Since the publication of this story, Hyphonix has said that he talked to Twitch, and the company has granted him permission to be on camera with his roommates, so long as he is not the main focus of their streams.

Kotaku senior reporter. Beats: Twitch, streaming, PC gaming. Writing a book about streamers tentatively titled "STREAMERS" to be published by Atria/Simon & Schuster in the future.

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What a surreal and slightly idiotic set of circumstances. I can’t identify with any part of this article, not the streamers, his viewers, his living situation, his apparent lack of adult coping skills to engage in other more conventional social activities during his suspension. These articles about Twitch, the personalities involved, and their audiences make me feel like I’m very far removed from what gaming is becoming.