Twitch broadcasters VideoGameBootCamp have refused to allow a Smash Bros. player to use the in-game tag of their sponsors, YouPorn.
Melee player Jason "Bizz" Yoon, who was signed by the "Team YP" eSports branch of the popular adult video streaming site last month, declared the situation last night over Twitter.
"Today I was told by [VGBC President] GimR that I am not allowed to represent Team YP with my tag in game or in my name in the overlays," Yoon wrote. "Therefore until I am allowed to represent Team YP with both my tag in game and on the overlays, I will not be participating in the SaltySuite at EVO."
The tag, which consists of just the letters "YP" before Yoon’s handle of "Blizz", seems innocuous enough but has caused problems before such as at last month’s Community Effort Orlando (CEO) event.
"This isn’t the first time this has happened," Yoon wrote. "At CEO, seconds before my match with Gahtzu, he told me that I wasn’t allowed to wear the YP tag in game. This threw me off my game before a very important match in pools."
Calvin "GimR" Lofton, president and face of the VGBC streaming company which broadcasts almost every major Smash tournament, issued a statement soon after that the two were still in negotiations of how to represent the sponsors on a "family friendly" stream.
"[I said] tell [your manager] thatthat we’re using full body cams so the YP shirt will fully be shown and ask her if that’s ok.We were obviously still talking about it and I was trying to make it work," he said. "I honestly don’t know why he went public with something that wasn’t decided on yet."
Team YP made a splash in the eSports scene last year when they hinted at the possibility of sponsoring a Dota 2 team, before picking up Spanish semi-pros Play2Win who have not featured in any high profile tournaments since.
The desire to keep the sponsor out of sight at the biggest tournament of the fighting game calendar could stem from any number of reasons.
Nintendo has been hesitant to fully engage with the eSports aspects of their games, but recently showed some support for Smash Bros for Wii U by adding to the prize pools at Apex 2015 in January.
However to be seen to support a brand such as YouPorn while ostensibly appearing to offer entertainment for all ages could be too much for the Japanese company to stomach.
The issue compounds many existing questions on the nature of age ratings for eSports and spectator gaming in general, as well as the nature of advertising age-restricted activities like gambling or, in this case, pornography.
It also raises concerns over whether streaming broadcasters have the rights to refuse to give exposure or airtime to specific sponsorships.