Yesterday reports surfaced about several warnings sent by Valve to multiple developers of games (mostly visual novels) including mild adult content on the Steam digital download platform.
In response, fans of the genre launched a petition against Steam’s actions, demanding an explanation from Valve, and hoping to exercise public pressure in order to get the situation solved.
While the effect of this kind of petitions is often limited, we can’t say that it did not gather a lot of attention, with over 8,000 signatures received in 22 hours since the launch of the initiative.
This goes to show once more that, while this kind of genre may have niche appeal, it still counts on a rather sizable and passionate fanbase.
In the meanwhile, the list of developers hit by Steam’s warnings and demands for further censorship is growing. Dharker Studios received one for Galaxy Girls and Battle Girls. Winter Wolves was warned about Roommates. Top Hat Studios was targeted for Karmasutra. Hammerfist Studios received Valve’s attention on Deep Space Waifu. Winged Cloud received the demand to adjust an unspecified number of its games, causing a delay of a week for Sakura Sadist. Last, but not least, Illusion appears to have been impacted as well for VR Kanojo, even if their message is a little less clear-cut, citing “various reasons.”
Like the previous examples, all the games mentioned above features imagery strongly influenced by the art style of Japanese anime. It’s worth mentioning once again that those games that feature actual sexual content have already been censored for their Steam version, meaning that the imagery and situations portrayed are very mild.
At the moment, Steam has not provided any public comment on the issue, with the result that multiple developers have complained about being left in the dark, not even knowing which scenes or areas of their games are being seen as offensive.
At the moment of this writing, if the petition is any indication, at least 8,164 gamers feel that this situation is not acceptable. Considering the niche nature of the genre, that’s not a small number.