Visual novel publisher MangaGamer reached out today with a press release announcing its debut on CD Projekt’s digital download platform GOG.
The announcement mentions that the recent takedown threats from Valve have “thrown into question” the viability of Steam as a retail platform, and MangaGamer has begun looking into alternate solutions for its games.
We get a statement on the issue from MangaGamer PR Director John Pickett:
“This opportunity couldn’t have come at a better time. We had been speaking with GOG prior to recent events about adding visual novels as a genre to their retail platform, and with Valve now threatening the livelihoods of visual novel developers everywhere, it’s a huge relief to see GOG opening their doors to these games.”
The initial launch titles will be the Higurashi When They Cry series and eden*, but the publisher is already working closely with GOG on nine additional titles, including Kindred Spirits on the Roof (which is the game that Valve threatened to take down if it wasn’t further censored, despite its already very mild adult content), and A Kiss for the Petals ~Maidens of Michael~, which Valve received removed from Steam in March 2018 without any warning or notice. The press release also mentions that MangaGamer has yet to receive any communication about it, despite repeated inquiries.
A further statement from Pickett mentions that the publisher hopes to transition its full lineup to GOG in the long run.
“Steam has now proven that it’s growing unreliable for small and independent developers, so we are very grateful to have the next biggest retailer in the PC market welcoming Visual Novels with open arms and an eye for quality. In the long run we hope to transition our full Steam catalog over to GOG, and we hope other developers will consider reaching out to them too. We want fans everywhere to always have a means of enjoy these great titles.”
Incidentally, we also learn that another visual novel publisher, Sekai Project, will make the same move.
The plight of developers impacted by Steam’s actions prompted fans to react with a petition, which is still growing and gathered over 16,500 signatures at the moment of this writing. Valve partly backtracked, but apparently, this isn’t enough to prevent relevant visual novel publishers from looking around for alternate solutions more open to their business.