So, it’s been nearly three months since Valve announced that it was going with a new policy for the Steam gaming platform that was supposed to basically be hands off, with only “illegal” and “trolling” games being disallowed from the Steam store. As with all things Steam, the end result of what was supposed to be a transparent and simple policy turned into a shitshow, with developers having no idea whether once-banned games would suddenly be allowed, and some developers that were contacting Valve to get their games included were being told that their bans were still in place. There must have been a fair amount of frustration in the developer community, because Steam last week attempted to clear up its vague language in its policy. This attempt to clear things up, of course, cleared up basically nothing.
And, yet, the policy marches on. For all of the frustration on the part of developers, it appears as though we have our very first real tangible result, so let’s all celebrate the first 100% uncensored adult visual novel title making it to Steam in the coming week or so.
Things were looking dicey for a little while, but it seems like Valve is set to start allowing uncensored adult games onto Steam. Well, some of them, anyway—starting with Dharker Studio’s lingerie-centric visual novel, Negligee: Love Stories.
Today Dharker announced that the game—previously stuck in limbo while Valve sorted out tools that’d allow users to filter objectionable content—will be coming to Steam on Friday. The developer says it’ll be its “first ever 100% uncensored game on Steam” and added that there’s “no patch needed.”
Whatever you might think of the adult visual novel genre of games, it must be said that this is progress along the road that Valve laid out. A game that once would have been banned no longer is, while the platform has indeed finally begun to put more filtering tools in place, and has also begun requiring that developers be more explicit about which parts of its game are controversial and in what ways. So, unless you want Steam to babysit your sensibilities, this is progress of a kind.
Still, getting only to this benchmark after three months doesn’t fell all that impressive. Add to that the fact that this is all still a mess for much of the developer community and it’s hard to give Valve glowing marks right now.
I reached out to other developers I’ve spoken to in the past about this issue, and they reported mixed results. Boobs Saga, a “satirical 3D action” game about escaping from a dungeon and probably also boobs, hasn’t been approved yet, but developer Georgiy Kukhtenkov told me in a DM that he was asked to fill out the mature content survey, too.
Things aren’t going so smoothly for James Cox, developer of You Must Be 18 Or Older To Enter, a lo-fi horror game about porn that’s not actually porn itself. His game got booted from Steam last year, and he said in an email that he hasn’t been able to resubmit it yet.
Anyone who has paid attention to how this story has evolved over the past few months knows that what developers and game makers want more than anything is clarity on what Steam will and will not allow. Perhaps we can write off some of the current struggles to growing pains within the policy, but we certainly don’t have clarity just yet.
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