Last week, reports started circulating on Twitter and elsewhere the popular gaming company Valve was cracking down on sexual content in some games on their platform, Valve. The games included Mutiny!!, Re;Lord 1, Kindred Spirits on the Roof, Tropical Liquor, and VR Kanojo.
According to a tweet by Mutiny!! developer Lupiesoft, they were told that they were warned that they had to make changes to their game because they were reported for “pornographic content,” or risk being taken down in two weeks. All of the games that were reportedly warned feature Japanese-style animation and Lupiesoft claimed on Twitter that, a) they didn’t offer their game on Steam, b) it had previously been approved after their published met with Valve in person, and c) other, more “western” style games with similarly explicit – or more explicit – content weren’t being warned.
“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,” Lupiesoft tweeted. “One rule for them, and no rules for us.”
Other game creators were also confused, citing the fact that they were not informed of any changes in policy and that they had all undergone a rigorous approval process. Some even said they’d already censored their games in order to be available on the platform in the first place.
Almost immediately after the initial outcry, Valve contacted at least Lupiesoft, as well as HuniePotDev, the developer of another popular game by the same name, and told them the two-week deadline was being lifted and that Valve would be “re-reviewing” their games. While it’s not a green light by any means, HuniePotDev called it an “interesting development.”
“I have just received word from Valve apologizing for the confusion, saying to DISREGARD their previous e-mail about the violation, that they are in the process of re-reviewing the game and will follow up soon,” HuniePotDev tweeted. “I should be clear this doesn’t mean we’re out of the woods. It just means we have an interesting development. Whatever the case, the communication and clarification from Valve is very, very much appreciated.”
— #WAIFUHOLOCAUST UPDATE —
I have just received word from Valve apologizing for the confusion, saying to DISREGARD their previous e-mail about the violation, that they are in the process of re-reviewing the game and will follow up soon.
— HunieDev (@HuniePotDev) May 19, 2018
James, of MiKandi Japan, says that lack of clarification is upsetting – but unsurprising.
“Regarding the sweeping action that Valve is taking, the most important thing for MiKandi Japan as a game developer and publisher to know is what triggered these mass notices in the first place,” James says. “There are rumors and claims going around, but hearing straight from Valve would go a long way in offsetting the uncertainty that’s now engulfing their platform. While I think this is a bad business decision on their part, I’m also a big believer in the free market. At the end of the day if visual novel games are not welcome on Steam, game makers and fans will go somewhere else, and other platforms like MiKandi will become even more popular.”
As of this article going to press, there’s still no word from Valve on what prompted these initial emails. However, this isn’t the first time that a platform has suddenly turned on creators of adult content with no warning – Patreon famously did the same last year – and it certainly won’t be the last. But luckily, we here at MiKandi pride ourselves in being the website where adults can be adults. Any game makers and adult graphic novelists who have been kicked off Valve – or who just don’t want to deal with this issue again – are welcome to come join us on MiKandi. You can contact us directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.