Holodexxx, an erotic VR experience featuring scans of real-life adult stars, has been rejected by Steam. The devs say they'll be moving forward with making the game, but that they're "disappointed" in Valve's decision to ban it from Steam.
Why was Holodexxx rejected from Steam?
The developers go into detail regarding their Steam submission process in a lengthy blog post on the game's official website. In the post, the devs say they submitted a "PG-13 experience" involving adult star Riley Reid performing a dance for players. This submission was rejected on the grounds that it constituted pornography, although the Holodexxx folks say the video in the experience was "completely censored". Believing Valve's problem was with video depicting real people, the devs then submitted another build, this time featuring a digital recreation of adult performer Marley Brinx. That build, too, was rejected on grounds of pornography.
After asking Steam what constituted pornography - and receiving a rather noncommittal reply in response - the devs decided they would submit a new build that included narrative and gameplay content, albeit still revolving around very adult themes. Holodexxx Home involves a new fictional character who can talk to the player like a chatbot, as well as engaging in a number of "simple physical interactions". After "a few weeks" of waiting, this build was also rejected on pornographic grounds. The Holodexxx folks have described their experience with Steam as "needlessly painful", and they set out recommendations for Steam on how to handle adult content in the future on the blog post.
What's Valve's precedent for banning Holodexxx?
Despite there being plenty of adult-themed (and downright pornographic) games on Steam, it seems that the Holodexxx people fell foul of the same problem experienced by Richard La Ruina during the Super Seducer 3 Steam submission process. Valve's onboarding rules and guidelines stipulate that content should not contain "sexually explicit images of real people", which would explain why the first Riley Reid video build was rejected outright. As the Holodexxx folks rightly point out, the models in their game are technically 3D scans of real people, but it seems Valve doesn't discriminate on this front, although its rules surrounding adult content can be somewhat fluid.
The Holodexxx developers say that adult gaming is moving towards a point at which developers can "easily create lifelike virtual humans", as with Epic's Metahuman project, and that it's only a matter of time before "we start seeing lewd projects" based on this tech. As a result, there are questions surrounding photogrammetric scans of real people in 3D games, but Holodexxx's devs say Steam hasn't adequately addressed their concerns. They say Steam will "refuse to comment on what made your app fail their review", and that past precedent counts for nothing when submitting content in future.
This isn't the end for Holodexxx, though. The devs say they will keep working on what they call "the natural evolution of adult games", funded by their Patreon supporters. Naturally, the game won't end up on Steam, but as Super Seducer 3's Gamesplanet release shows, there are plenty of other platforms out there willing to take on content like this. We'll bring you more on the fate of Holodexxx as soon as we get it.
How do you feel about Steam rejecting Holodexxx? Let us know in the comments below!