Back in May this year, Valve courted controversy when it threatened to pull down a number of adult games unless they made changes. Many of these games were visual novels, with sexual content in some form, often including nudity made more explicit through patches. This was seemingly resolved when Valve backed down from statements that they would remove games from the store that didn’t make alterations and issued a statement in which they said anything that wasn’t illegal or trolling would be allowed on the Steam store.
Contact from Valve in the wake of that was slow coming, though it did eventually come hinting at a new procedure that is still not available and causing trouble for some developers. First spoken of by Sunrider developer Love in Space, they tweeted that they are not able to release their next game Shining Song Starnova on Steam until Valve had implemented some new filtering options, something which they lacked a timeline for.
We’ve now been updated by Valve in regards to Shining Song Starnova, the summary is that they are working on new features to give people more control over the content they see and SSS has been identified as needing these features in place before it can go live on Steam. [1/2]
— Love in Space (@Love_In_Space) July 12, 2018
We reached out to the publisher Sekai Project who confirmed the situation and said that they had other titles that they had been told to resubmit for. They were unable to share which those titles were, but also explained that it will impact existing titles as well as new ones. Sekai Project also explained they are exploring alternative platforms to release the games on as they had been waiting for over two months.
Following up on this I reached out to other developers who were impacted by the events in May. Several of them said they had received letters from Valve detailing that they were working on new tools that would require additional information to be filled out when the new system is implemented. Confirming that this is affecting all games in the genre, one developer directed me to the title Boobs Saga which has been unable to get approval to release, causing them to have to delay their release.
We have reached out to Valve for comment but they have not replied as of this writing. We will continue to monitor this situation and update it as more becomes available.
Note: if you are a developer impacted by this, please reach out to us at [email protected]