Adult games and visual novels on Steam issued with removal warnings from Valve

Adult games and visual novels on Steam issued with removal warnings from Valve

0 comments 📅20 May 2018, 15:36

A number of developers of adult games and visual novels have received warnings from Steam operator Valve, saying that their games ‘violate the rules and guidelines for pornographic content’ on the digital store.

Creators of tile-matching game HuniePop, as well as visual novels Mutiny!! and Nekopara, are just a few of the developers who have been targetted, with Valve stating in an email that unless the content is removed, their games will be removed from sale.

It’s a move that has left devs and players stunned, as these games have been available on Steam for years without facing any problems. Many, too, are less pornographic than other mature rated games on Steam, leading some to believe that this is a specifically targetted attack against games and visual novels with anime-inspired art.

“From Huniepop, to SonoHanabira, to Mutiny!!, the message is clear, if your game has sexy anime-inspired art in it, get it gone, while western games which are 100x more pornographic content escape unscathed. One rule for them, and no rules for us,” said Mutiny!! developer Lupiesoft on Twitter.

They continued: “This is not normal, this is not okay. Games are being pulled simply because they look a certain way and there is a stigma behind the look of a game. In the future this could easily extend to anyone who even makes visual novels no matter how ‘sexy’ they might appear to be.”

After receiving the news, Lupiesoft drastically discounted Mutiny!! to $1 to protest and raise awareness of the threat.

Why is this happening now? Well, a number of reasons have been put forward. One suggests that, because many of these games can be altered and fully uncensored with the use of patches, Valve is looking to fully close that loophole after it stopped developers from advertising those patches on a game’s store page. Another is that Valve is facing pressure from payment system PayPal, who do not allow users to purchase sexual content through their service.

A third, and most likely reason, is that these specific games have been hit with a barrage of reports as part of a campaign by an organisation called the National Center on Sexual Exploitation. A recent article on the movement’s website celebrates the “many grassroots activists and leaders who have spoken up to demand a change to Steams [sic] policies” while also claiming the threats of removal as a ‘victory’ for the organisation.

Since then, however, the same developers have been contacted by Valve again saying that they should disregard the previous email and that the digital store owner is re-reviewing their games. Whether that means they are safe from removal yet is unclear, but it does give the developers some hope for now.

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