Steam appears to be cracking down on games with anime-style art and sexual content.
On Thursday, several game developers tweeted that Steam had flagged their products for porn and ordered them to remove the problematic content. If they did not, their titles would be pulled from the platform.
– IMPORTANT NOTICE – I’ve received an e-mail from Valve stating that HuniePop violates the rules & guidelines for pornographic content on Steam and will be removed from the store unless the game is updated to remove said content.
We have been informed that content in Re;Lord 1 must be censored by the end of this month or the game will be removed from Steam. We are going to engage in talks with Valve but at the same time make adjustments as requested. https://t.co/ZhG2TnBJcP
The developers say they have two weeks to fix the problems, even though their adult-oriented games have been on digital store for months, if not years.
All of the affected titles feature anime-drawn characters and some nudity. Many also contain overtly sexual imagery. But the content has hardly been a secret; to abide by Steam’s policies, the games have been labeled to say they do contain sexual images.
In addition, Steam has a category specifically devoted to games with sexual content.
Why is the platform suddenly taking a hard line on these games? Valve, the company behind the digital store, has not commented. Although pornography isn’t permitted on the platform, adult content that’s been appropriately labeled and “age-gated” is, according to Steam’s own guidelines. That’s provided leeway for certain adult-oriented games on the store, some of which have gained thousands of positive reviews.
The developers say they’re in the dark over why Steam suddenly reversed course. One publisher, MangaGamer, said it had taken “great pains” to run its own title by Valve representatives to ensure none of the content would be considered porn. But now it appears that at least eight games will be affected by the upcoming crackdown.
In a tweet, the developer Lupiesoft said Steam was singling out anime-style games for sexual content, when hit titles from US developers that also feature nudity and sex have been left “unscathed” by the upcoming change.
“Games are being pulled simply because they look a certain way and there is a stigma behind the look of a game,” the developer added.
However, Steam isn’t the only platform to take a stricter stance on porn in recent months. Back in October, crowdfunding service Patreon also unveiled new rules against porngraphy, causing many developers to complain.