Valve Removes "Anime" Art Style Games with Lesbian Content


#1

So I went to bed angry last night.

Here’s a thread from Lupiesoft, an open queer studio.

The just is that Valve removed a bunch of games from their service last night, and they were all games with “anime” art styles, and there were some big names on that list like Kindred Spirits on the Roof and HuniePop. Also, and most importantly, all of these games (as far as I can tell) had lesbian content.

“But isn’t this just about adult content games?”

NOPE!

See, Valve already had a policy up for those sorts of games. You don’t put adult content versions on Steam and don’t advertise any adult content patches on Steam in any way, and you’re fine. Only two games in this group were doing that (like HunipePop) but everyone else was following this directive closely. I’ve played the censored version of LupieSoft’s Mutiny, and I can say from experience they were almost paranoid about making a clean version, to the point character portraits had censor marks in places.

And keep in mind they didn’t go after the people flooding their market with adult games outright. SamuraGame, that Chinese dev who commonly traps hentai doujjin devs into rotten deals that’s basically robbery and have posted games with S&M minigames that are VERY explict, even with censoring, don’t seem to have been affected.

It was all games with lesbian content. With a particular art style.

This is the single most vile thing I have EVER seen Valve do, and this move could potentially single the complete destruction of the English VN industry. If Valve decides to just arbitrarily go against their stated policy out of nowhere one day, and with lesbian focused games to boot (HuniePop being the famous outlier, though you can play it as a girl thus it fits in).

And before anyone brings up the sexual content implied card, the Witcher series is being sold on the store. Mass Effect is being sold on the store. Dragon Age: Origins is being sold on the store. Countless garbage smut games flooding the store made by cynical developers trying to get a quick buck, and often with stolen art, are still on the store.

I don’t plan on buying anymore games on Steam if they’re being sold elsewhere. I am fucking disgusted.


#2

“Porn is fine, as long as it’s straight!”

I can never tell which is going on: either Valve is a right-wing company or they’re bending to the whims of a right-wing user-base. And I don’t know which is worse.


#3

They once advertised a news section with a preview image showing that at least one of their employees goes to Techraptor, a known G^merG^te site that helped direct harassment campaigns. They quickly changed it to a preview with IGN once everyone started pointing it out.

There’s scum working there, and the rest is just general technocrat stupidity.


#4

It’s weird, because I grew up in and live around the Bellevue area, and it’s a pretty liberal area (in the very literal sense of that word). Just goes to show you, I guess


#5

California is a liberal state and it’s being overrun with fascists who think they can predict everything about a person with social media data they illegally gather from people not even on their service and turn over to dictators.

This shit is everywhere.


#6

MangaGamer’s post on this


#7

I’m so angry wlw have to beg for scraps! I only got 5 hours into kindred spirits but you bet your ass I’m going to go play it now! Fuck steam and their weird games monopoly.


#8

It seems if you own the game on Steam, you can still re-install it. This is the case for Alan Wake, which was removed last year by the devs due to copyright issues. The problem now is people can’t buy the games anymore for obvious reasons, which has massive implications for the visual novel market, especially with how sudden and pointless this shift was.


#9

Valve’s control over the games market is fucking dangerous and just… fuck this, ugh.

And it’s not like they even provide a great service, just people saying “I want all my games in one place,” without some sort of recognition of the responsibilities implicitly placed on Valve that they completely drop the ball on. Not that’d I’d expect them not to. Bleh


#10

Maybe it has to do with underaged characters. Under the kindred Spirites blog post, someone posted this

I hope Valve issues a statement to clear things up.


#11

That’s once again crap because there’s a TON of het games on Steam with school girl characters and sexual content still up.


#12

Hi. :slight_smile:

Just a quick comment to say that it may be someone is report-bombing certain games/genres, and that the takedown notices could be automated. This is all happening very quickly, and whilst Valve aren’t known for communication, it seems odd this would happen through the night without any “real person” response from Valve.

It may be they are actively targeting LGBTQI content, and if they are that’s despicable, no argument or defense from me there. But there’s a lot of rumours swirling about, from a mass-email/reporting campaign by a conservative anti-sexual exploitation group, to a PAC flagging “pornography” that goes against Washington State law.


#13

That doesn’t explain why it’s only games with lesbian content and a particular art style.

Far more explicit games on Steam are being ignored while these are being signaled out. Kindred Spirits on the Roof is especially odd because it never was a porn game, while HuniePop doesn’t have sex scenes or underage characters (you get raunchy CG for completing a path, one or two images).


#14

Well, it depends. If it’s report bombing then it’s a concerted effort to hit a) Anime-style games, and B) games with lesbian or LGBTQI content. And, yes, there’s more explicit games - though it should be noted Kindred Spirits has some nudity, it’s just not a porn game - but there’s also LGBTQI games that haven’t been hit. Ladykiller in a Bind, for instance, afaik hasn’t been targeted.

Honestly not saying I have the answers, just saying that this seems way more complicated than many of us first thought (I found your post via the ResetEra thread on what’s happening, btw).

As an example of how weird it is… https://twitter.com/pcmacgames/status/997365594155634690

weird I got a report from Valve - saying that #Roommates contains pornographic images and have two weeks to fix it. It won’t be a problem since I’ll simply disable the new “suggestive content” option…


#15

Wait, isn’t Roommates a Winter Wolves release?

Their stuff is incredibly tame when it gets ported to Steam, from clothing that covers more skin to the sex scene CG just being suggestive pin-up stuff you’d even see in stuff like bloody Deponia (there’s hidden pin-up art you can unlock).

What the hell is even going on over there


#16

Yeah, I tweeted WinterWolves about it, saying much the same I said here. Their reply:

I replied to the report I got, but haven’t heard back yet

Absolutely no idea what’s going on, but I imagine at least some of what’s going on isn’t by design, we just don’t know how much. :confused:


#17

This is just a wild guess, but I wonder if Valve has been getting pressure from payment processors? PayPal’s acceptable use policy disallows “items that are considered obscene” and “certain sexually oriented materials,” which is infuriatingly vague. I know the concept of obscenity has often been applied in bigoted ways, treating LGBTQ content as more obscene than equivalently explicit cis-het content.

If these are actually automated takedowns in response to user flagging, then that’s even more boneheaded than I expect from Valve. They must know how simple that would be to abuse.


#18

I would not be surprised if it were automated, considering what we know of Valve’s “moderation.”


#19

This story appears to be developing so we’d appreciate if everyone could keep in mind to avoid being needlessly explicit and to err on the side of caution with regards to content warnings. It’s understandably frustrating what’s happening here but we’d like to avoid the conversation turning into speculation about the pornographic content in certain games and/or become needlessly heated about the merits of said games.


#20

Regarding the claim that this is just report-bombing - it may well be, but all that shows us is how easily these automated systems can be used against oppressed groups. The same thing happened, and is still happening, with LGBT content on YouTube. If you care about harassment and protecting groups that are at the risk of being targeted by bigots, you shouldn’t use these systems. You should have human oversight. And then the question is if you care about harassment more than you care about cutting labor costs.