In yet another in the long list of bizarre and/or irresponsible decisions made by everyone’s favorite video game online distribution platform, Valve has contacted the developers behind a number of sexually explicit visual novels currently sold on their Steam marketplace, telling them to either further censor their games or face removal from the storefront.
Censoring sexual content in games is nothing new, with Steam having certain standards as to how much nudity is too much in the media they sell. The problem in this case comes in how these games are already being sold on Steam, many of them having been on Steam for several years now, with the decision by Valve to demand further censoring of their content to seemingly have come out of nowhere.
One of the developers currently affected by this change is Lupiesoft, maker of the game Mutiny!! which can currently be found on Steam. On Twitter, the developer said they were given two weeks total before the game will be taken off Steam for “reports of pornographic content.” They also mention that, when attempting to contact Valve for clarification (Lupiesoft has worked closely with the company for quite some time, making this sudden decision all the more jarring), they received no answer and are expected to make changes to conform to a standard they’re not entirely clear of within the allotted time or risk the game being taken down.
While Steam has explicit rules against pornography as part of their Partner Program, this has never seemed to prohibit nudity before. Many AAA games feature levels of nudity that are similar to or even more extreme than what can commonly be found in visual novel games, yet none of them have been threatened with removal.
All in all, this decision seems baffling on almost every level with a profound lack of communication from Valve as to why they’re doing this. Whether they make good on their promises to ban these games from Steam or reverse their actions (or at least explain them) prior to the end of the month remains to be seen.