A bunch of visual novels with mature content on Steam are getting pulled/threatened with removal

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Re: A bunch of visual novels with mature content on Steam are getting pulled/threatened with removal

#16 Post by LateWhiteRabbit » Sat May 19, 2018 10:04 am

mikolajspy wrote:
Sat May 19, 2018 5:00 am
I remember reading an article some time ago, the reason why games like GTA, The Witcher and so on are not taken down is that they're not focused on Adult content.
You can play the game without those, in most cases. Or it's a one scene in hours of main gameplay.

You know, if they take down enough VNs, all devs can sign petition to take down other games with sexual content as well.
But well, big companies have enough money to not care about it. It's us, small devs that will be hurt the most.
My main issue is that it seems Valve has two sets of rules. One for the "Big Fish" and one for the "Little Fish". Valve is a privately owned business providing a service. They can set whatever rules they want. If they want to say No Sex and No Nudity are allowed in any games they sell, that's fine - but where I take umbrage with the company is them applying the rules differently to different developers.

Why shouldn't Rockstar and CD Projekt Red have to release censored versions of their games on Steam if indie developers do? It's a double standard.

It is ridiculous to say that Visual Novels where you spend hours getting to know a character and build a relationship with them and THEN have a naked scene are worse than a game like Grand Theft Auto 5 where you can - again - get first person naked lap dances, pick up prostitutes where you can receive first person oral sex - and then KILL those women if so inclined.
jack_norton wrote:
Sat May 19, 2018 2:03 am
Apparently from what I understood it's a bunch of people who are going around playing the inquisitors, reporting any game they deem "pornographic". I'm sure they play the games very carefully before making their judgement... :wink:
....
I believe this is a huge mistake on Valve's part and that it's going to backfire.
Also, what is the point of having those "age gates" on Steam, if then you're going to ask people to pull the game having adult content anyway? :D
I don't doubt it has something to do with people in the community playing inquisitor. It is all back to Valve not wanting to do any policing of their own store front and leaving it up to crowd control and algorithms. At this point I honestly don't know what employees at Valve actually DO besides deposit money in the bank. They seem hell-bent on making it so they never have to make actual decisions on their own anymore.

I do wonder what the uproar would be if games like Witcher 3 and Grand Theft Auto were mass reported for pornography. But we all know Rockstar would have a car full of lawyers physically on site at Valve's HQ in Washington State within hours of receiving any kind of removal notice.

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Re: A bunch of visual novels with mature content on Steam are getting pulled/threatened with removal

#17 Post by jack_norton » Sat May 19, 2018 11:05 am

LateWhiteRabbit wrote:
Sat May 19, 2018 10:04 am
It is ridiculous to say that Visual Novels where you spend hours getting to know a character and build a relationship with them and THEN have a naked scene are worse than a game like Grand Theft Auto 5 where you can - again - get first person naked lap dances, pick up prostitutes where you can receive first person oral sex - and then KILL those women if so inclined.
Haha indeed. That's a perfect example! :D
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Re: A bunch of visual novels with mature content on Steam are getting pulled/threatened with removal

#18 Post by toguchin » Sat May 19, 2018 4:31 pm

This is ridiculous, especially if Steam is, in fact, targeting games that have an outside patch for adult content that's not even promoted on Steam.

God I hope this bites Valve hard.

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Re: A bunch of visual novels with mature content on Steam are getting pulled/threatened with removal

#19 Post by LateWhiteRabbit » Sat May 19, 2018 5:58 pm

Kotaku has now posted an article about this. I knew Gita Jackson would come through - she's a champion for the VN and erotic game communities.

The comments section is going nuts with arguments over whether the Witcher counts as worse erotic content than the visual novel games. Lots of anti-anime bias. As expected, a lot of gamers are refusing to believe one of THEIR favorite games is a bad as one of those "Japanese pedo games". :roll:

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Re: A bunch of visual novels with mature content on Steam are getting pulled/threatened with removal

#20 Post by AnimeWhoLock » Sat May 19, 2018 6:24 pm

This is ridiculous. It's unnecessary censoring, and is hurting indy devs. Some of it has adult content, but so do many other games. If you lie about your age and buy something with adult content, that is your own problem. Parents are too sensitive, and overreact. They claim that Millenials are special snowflakes, but they see a bare woman's shoulder and cry out for god all mighty. If your child is lying about their age, that's your problem, not the internet's. Maybe if you raised your kids properly they wouldn't take your credit card and buy "inappropriate" games.

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Re: A bunch of visual novels with mature content on Steam are getting pulled/threatened with removal

#21 Post by Kuiper » Sat May 19, 2018 9:30 pm

Update from HuniePot Dev: https://twitter.com/HuniePotDev/status/ ... 7977436160
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.

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.
Update from Lupiesoft: https://twitter.com/Lupiesoft/status/997982926242398208
Lupiesoft has also just received word from Valve that Mutiny!! is being re-reviewed for content, and that the 2 week deadline is off.

We'll update everyone as any more information comes our way.
Update from MangaGamer: https://twitter.com/MangaGamer/status/9 ... 4480052226
Update: We have just received word from Valve to disregard the previous notice. According to the e-mail, Kindred Spirits will be re-reviewed and we will be provided with specific feedback if there are concerns about the game’s content.
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Re: A bunch of visual novels with mature content on Steam are getting pulled/threatened with removal

#22 Post by jack_norton » Sun May 20, 2018 2:34 am

Same here. They said:
We would like to take a second look at your game and we will send you a follow up email with more information. If your game has remained unchanged since its first approval and release, and is properly described and labeled as 18+, our response will most likely not have any further feedback. If you have shipped Steam updates including new content that would materially change our previous approval decision, our follow up email will include feedback about specific issues related to your game.
However in my case it's more risky - since indeed I did an update with nudity that wasn't in the original game, so in theory I could still be affected, EVEN IF I clearly labeled the game as 18+ and has tags like nudity/sexual content. Will be interesting to see what they do.
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Re: A bunch of visual novels with mature content on Steam are getting pulled/threatened with removal

#23 Post by LateWhiteRabbit » Sun May 20, 2018 9:40 am

jack_norton wrote:
Sun May 20, 2018 2:34 am
Same here. They said:
We would like to take a second look at your game and we will send you a follow up email with more information. If your game has remained unchanged since its first approval and release, and is properly described and labeled as 18+, our response will most likely not have any further feedback. If you have shipped Steam updates including new content that would materially change our previous approval decision, our follow up email will include feedback about specific issues related to your game.
However in my case it's more risky - since indeed I did an update with nudity that wasn't in the original game, so in theory I could still be affected, EVEN IF I clearly labeled the game as 18+ and has tags like nudity/sexual content. Will be interesting to see what they do.
Your update to add the nudity was through Steam? You didn't just add an uncensor patch to your site?

I'm not sure how Valve counts stuff like that. For instance, I've been thinking of making some of my game's content censored unless it detects a certain file in the game directory. The art assets would still be present - just inaccessible unless the player downloaded (or created) this file and put it in the game files.

Good luck, Jack. Keep us updated on what happens.

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Re: A bunch of visual novels with mature content on Steam are getting pulled/threatened with removal

#24 Post by jack_norton » Sun May 20, 2018 12:35 pm

No, the nudity update was done the same way both on my site and on Steam, since in those times (June last year) seemed that the policy was "adult content allowed at full speed" :lol:
In the worst case I'll revert it to be the usual "uncensor patch" system.
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Re: A bunch of visual novels with mature content on Steam are getting pulled/threatened with removal

#25 Post by Aviala » Sun May 20, 2018 1:50 pm

jack_norton wrote:
Sun May 20, 2018 12:35 pm
No, the nudity update was done the same way both on my site and on Steam, since in those times (June last year) seemed that the policy was "adult content allowed at full speed" :lol:
In the worst case I'll revert it to be the usual "uncensor patch" system.
Especially when they allowed Ladykiller in a Bind to be released on Steam it seemed like Steam was loosening it's policies regarding to adult content. At that time it seemed like it would be okay to release sexual content as long as the sex wasn't the only content of the game - I played LKIAB and it's pretty explicit, but I guess since it has a compelling story, innovative ways of using dialogue and choices and interesting characters it was allowed.

It wouldn't be wrong for other devs to assume that they could include adult content in their games since there is precedence of Steam allowing those kinds of games on the platform. I'm guessing the game needs to have a certain amount of "artistic value" so that it's not "just porn" and artistic value is very subjective. So it may just depend on who's checking the games?

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Re: A bunch of visual novels with mature content on Steam are getting pulled/threatened with removal

#26 Post by jack_norton » Sun May 20, 2018 2:06 pm

Yes I think could work like that. My latest RPG Cursed Lands had an unusually long review time (25 days!!!) and they explicitly asked me to send a cheat to unlock all the romance CGs. Then they approved it, but the same day they sent me the notice for Roommates. So in the end, I put a censored version on Steam.

I think though that a store should have VERY CLEAR RULES and it cannot change policy a day to another, especially for already approved games (talking about YEARS, not weeks)... in future to avoid surprises I'll always put censored stuff on Steam.
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Re: A bunch of visual novels with mature content on Steam are getting pulled/threatened with removal

#27 Post by Kuroi_Usagi » Sun May 20, 2018 2:09 pm

I don't think Steam will be changing their policy on sexual content anytime soon. This entire ordeal was spurned by a loud minority and soon, Valve will go back into their turtle shell when they realize the noise was nothing.

Jim Sterling did a video on this incident, and I agree with what he said that visual novels were just an easy target being the still small community that we are on Steam. It has nothing to do with Steam being hypocrites this time around, merely that the folks of Morality in Media were trying to be strategic in targeting the small fry.

Granted, this still sets the precedence for Valve to finally make a statement/draw a line regarding sexual content on their platform. It would be negligent and a silly missed opportunity on their part if they didn't. I'm actually glad this sort of happened, because when it blows over, that's more wind at the backs of indie developers in the visual novel community.
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Re: A bunch of visual novels with mature content on Steam are getting pulled/threatened with removal

#28 Post by Obscura » Thu Jun 07, 2018 1:47 pm

Steam posted this on their blog today.

https://steamcommunity.com/games/593110 ... 6200553082

Excerpt:
So we ended up going back to one of the principles in the forefront of our minds when we started Steam, and more recently as we worked on Steam Direct to open up the Store to many more developers: Valve shouldn't be the ones deciding this. If you're a player, we shouldn't be choosing for you what content you can or can't buy. If you're a developer, we shouldn't be choosing what content you're allowed to create. Those choices should be yours to make. Our role should be to provide systems and tools to support your efforts to make these choices for yourself, and to help you do it in a way that makes you feel comfortable.

With that principle in mind, we've decided that the right approach is to allow everything onto the Steam Store, except for things that we decide are illegal, or straight up trolling.
What does it mean for now?
"In the short term, we won't be making significant changes to what's arriving on Steam until we've finished some of the tools we've described in this post. As we've hopefully managed to convey, navigating these issues is messy and complicated. Countries and societies change their laws and cultural norms over time. We'll be working on this for the foreseeable future, both in terms of what products we're allowing, what guidelines we communicate, and the tools we're providing to developers and players."
From the sounds of it, Steam will be re-working their filtering tools. For developers and players, it looks like nothing's going to change in the short term. We'll basically be waiting to see how it all pans out.
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Re: A bunch of visual novels with mature content on Steam are getting pulled/threatened with removal

#29 Post by Imperf3kt » Thu Jun 07, 2018 4:51 pm

Sounds like a marketing ploy, and not a sincere gesture.
The community got upset so they're shoving a lollypop in their mouth to shut them up and try to distract them enough to forget what happened.

I hope Valve goes bankrupt, to be honest.
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Re: A bunch of visual novels with mature content on Steam are getting pulled/threatened with removal

#30 Post by LateWhiteRabbit » Thu Jun 07, 2018 7:19 pm

Imperf3kt wrote:
Thu Jun 07, 2018 4:51 pm
Sounds like a marketing ploy, and not a sincere gesture.
The community got upset so they're shoving a lollypop in their mouth to shut them up and try to distract them enough to forget what happened.

I hope Valve goes bankrupt, to be honest.
Actually, from what I read from various sources, it seems like this move is totally in line with what direction Valve has been moving in from the beginning. Namely, Valve doesn't what to do any curating. Like all of Silicon Valley they want to design an almighty algorithm to do it all so they can be hands off and not use employees.

In the beginning Valve did curate everything, and while it was mostly great, it had significant drawbacks. As a player, if you didn't like the type of games that Valve employees did, you would find slim pickings in the store. And it was a headache to jump through hoops as a developer to get anything on the store. It was goldmine if you did, but you were often at the whim of ONE employee. Firstly, you had to have already found some success outside of Steam, and then you had to hope the employee that randomly got your game submission personally liked it. If they weren't a fan of your genre or style, you were doomed, often after months of waiting to hear back. This was brought up when Greenlight was first announced - Valve admitted that their employees didn't like anime, so those games had never been able to get on the store before.

Greenlight was an attempt to let the community decide what games they wanted - again, Valve didn't want the responsibility. Greenlight caused scandals, conspiracies, schemes, and vendettas in the community, with bribes, threats, and everything else.

Steam Direct let developers just directly release on Steam for a fee. There is more crap being released, but this wouldn't be much of a problem if Valve had proper filtering - which it sounds like they are adding:
We are going to enable you to override our recommendation algorithms and hide games containing the topics you're not interested in. So if you don't want to see anime games on your Store, you'll be able to make that choice. If you want more options to control exactly what kinds of games your kids see when they browse the Store, you'll be able to do that.
This move is the ultimate in hands-off. Valve is going all Ayn Rand 'let the market decide'. As long as it isn't illegal, they'll sell it. If users want that content, they'll buy it, if they don't, they won't. Steam isn't going to be a good place to market your game, but it hasn't been good for that in a long time.

The content filter and tag system they roll out is going to make or break this.

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