[Updated] HuniePop and Other Adult Games Facing Removal From Steam Store

Published: May 17, 2018 11:34 PM /


huniepop jessie

Update #5: The following is a list of developers (and their games, if known) that have allegedly received an e-mail from Valve stating that they must remove pornographic content from their games. This list has been corroborated by the blog Rockmandash Reviews. If you know of any other devs not on this list that have been affected by this issue, please drop us a line at tips@techraptor.net.

Developer Publisher Affected Games

HuniePot HuniePot HuniePop

Lupiesoft Mangagamer Mutiny!!

Top Hat Studios Super Hippo Games KarmaSutra

Tentacle Games Sekai Project Tropical Liquor

Escu:de/Element Sekai Project Re;Lord 1

Liar-Soft Mangagamer Kindred Spirits on the Roof

Dharker Studio Dharker Studio Battle Girls, Galaxy Girls

Winter Wolves Winter Wolves Roommates

Winged Cloud Winged Cloud Sakura Sadist, unnamed titles

Neko Climax Studios Hammerfist Studios DEEP SPACE WAIFU

Obscurasoft Obscurasoft Coming Out on Top

Flaming Firefly Flaming Firefly Forest Fortress

Further updates with more details are appended to the bottom of this article as they come in. Our original story continues below.

A number of adult-oriented  Steam games have allegedly received communications from Valve stating that they must change their games or face removal from the store according to multiple sources. Starting things off, dating sim/puzzle game hybrid HuniePop may have to remove content from the game after allegedly receiving an e-mail from Valve according to a tweet from the game's developer.


HuniePop is a game that mixes dating sim elements with a match 3 puzzle game. Part of the dating sim elements include graphic scenes depicting nudity. However, developers of similar games stated that Valve had a policy of allowing this content so long as the developers distributed it in a separate file. Valve has seemingly moved away from that stance last year, mandating that developers can no longer distribute uncensor patches via the Steam Community or provide instructions on how to install them. At the moment, HuniePop still lists the uncensor patch on their Steam Community page.

Earlier today, the HuniePop developer stated that Valve has sent him an e-mail mandating an update to the game to bring it into compliance with their rules & guidelines for pornographic content. The developer is following up with Valve via e-mail.

If you already own the game like myself and many others, you might be worried that Valve would remove it from your library should the issue not be resolved. However, Valve has allowed users to keep removed games in the past and the developer of HuniePop does not believe that Valve would remove a game people have already paid for.


Aside from HuniePot, developer Lupiesoft (The StargazersMutiny!!) have claimed that they have received similar e-mails from Valve on Twitter:


The twitter thread expands further, stating that the developer has no adult-oriented content in the game itself as it is distributed on Steam. However, Mutiny!! does have the developer link to their site where they have instructions on how to apply an uncensor patch to the game, but the developer makes sure not to directly link to the patch or other aspects. There does not appear to be any instructions directly on Steam's platform as far as we can tell.


We've reached out to a number of the involved developers and Valve on this matter and we'll update this piece as new details come to light.

Update: We've heard back from a representative from HuniePop's developer HuniePot. In their response, they stated that Valve did not mention where the complaint was sourced from, only that a complaint was received. Their game was stated as containing pornographic material, but there was no indication of what material Valve took issue with. Additionally, the HuniePot representative stated that "it's certainly surprising to see this notice after being on Steam for over 3 years with no such problems."

lupiesoft mutiny
Mutiny!!, a visual novel set on a fantasy airship, is one of the titles that was apparently singled out by Valve for adult content.

Update #2: We've heard back from LupieSoft on this issue. They've privately shared screenshots of an e-mail they claim was sent by Valve which follows a similar pattern to the situation HuniePot has described: a claim of violation, a two week time limit to make changes, and no specifics listed. They assert that there is nothing in their games as they are distributed on Steam that would qualify as "pornography" by any definition save for topless women, something that features in a wide range of titles ranging from indie games to AAA titles.

We looked into the guidelines Steam currently lists surrounding this topic and found they are exceptionally vague. Instead, as one of ten points which includes Hate Speech and content you don't own, Pornography is listed as something you cannot publish on Steam, lacking any further details on what they consider when deciding what to allow or not.

I asked Lupiesoft why they and HuniePot are receiving this notice now of all times. "I don't know for sure, but I feel it's a deliberate purge," they began. "I have my feelings that it's Valve reacting to certain extreme examples of developers actually putting porn onto Valve, and have basically gone after any game with sexy/suggestive art. It's a blanket assumption made that Visual Novel + Sexy Anime Art = Extreme Porn."

"It's the only explanation that makes sense to me why the most benign sexy anime games would be targeted in this way," the Lupiesoft representative continued. "Like I said in my [Twitter] thread, there's a huge stigma that exists against people who do this style of art, when if we did it in a 3D realistic style, no one would care."

I asked if perhaps their game would have been treated differently if it were in another art style other than anime. "I think if Mutiny!! was a realistic 3D adventure game with puzzles & top nudity it'd have a way different reaction both from Valve and the mainstream yes."

As for the state of the current adult game market, they had the following to say:

I think adult gaming market is growing exponentially while Steam has been slowly dying. While Steam currently has the biggest market share, many of the biggest publishers are seeing less reason to publish their games on Steam, while indie devs are being surrounded with mass produced meme games, the VN scene is also seeing a lot of google translated, horribly implemented, tested VNs coming to the platform.

It's harder to get noticed, the community engagement is shrinking. That's just what I notice happening right now, but i'm not 100% sure what it means long term. If that means our next title should be more, or less pornographic to make it as successful as we know it can be.

This change has us frankly worried as you can imagine.

Finally, I asked the important question of how exactly they will handle this situation in regards to their game on Steam:
We're not going to censor our game further to try and skirt under this. I have to reiterate that it's a huge double standard, and it's unfair treatment that a game like Mutiny!! is judged to be 'dirty & scummy' this way on art alone, when the same game with a Witcher label is "classy & mature". There's nothing that separates the content in Mutiny!! or Huniepop from any other mature, properly approved and highly acclaimed mature games on Steam.

If Mutiny!! gets pulled it will be for completely unjust reasons, and we won't try to 'fix' a game that isn't broken.

As of now, we've only managed to hear back from two developers regarding this issue. Another developer, however, is trying to get ahead of any potential issues with their own title:


And unfortunately, it seems that the developers of the Nekopara series of games have shared a message on behalf of another developer who has a received a similar message regarding their game Tropical Liquor.


We'll continue to investigate this story as it unfolds. If you know of any developer on Steam who has received one of these e-mails from Valve recently, please drop us a line at tips@techraptor.net.

top hat studios karmasutra
Top Hat Studios' Karmasutra features a traveler in a fantasy world navigating a journey filled with helpful gurus and mischievous demons.

Update #3: A representative from Top Hat Studios has responded to our inquiries regarding this issue and the changes they've made to their game. Additionally, Mangagamer has put out a statement on their website and sent out a press release on the matter. We've also heard back from developer Dharker Studios. We'll begin by writing about what we've heard from Top Hat Studios.

Top Hat Studios heard about the HuniePot, Lupiesoft, and Tentacle Games issues in the above tweets along with some behind-the-scenes info from fellow developers in the scene. Although this particular instance may be somewhat unique in its scope, it isn't the first time that the Top Hat Studios representative has heard about something like this happening - albeit in a more isolated instance.

A particular issue of contention on their part is the lack of clarity on Valve's guidelines. "In the past, Valve seems to have [been laxer] in what content was allowed in games," the representative stated. "We would never think to break or circumvent rules by any means. Karmasutra was allowed on Steam with less censorship than our newer titles have, which surprised us even at the time of release. The censorship was there, and we did our best to remove sexual content, but there was still stuff which was 'suggestive', albeit censored."

How exactly did Top Hat Studios handle censorship before the winds seemingly shifted at Steam? The representative expanded on how they would handle the issue of censorship in the old framework:

Prior to this, we had CGs still in game with black-bar style censorship, and text which to some may be interpreted as highly suggestive. We’ve removed CGs and replaced them with censored warnings, and we’ve stripped scenes altogether which could be thought of as sexual in nature, even if they were meant to contribute to the story and character interactions and not be pornographic. We wanted to be as entirely safe as we could. We’ve noticed all games being struck have some form of uncensored nudity, which is something we have never had, as we assumed it was against Valve’s guidelines.
Going forward, they expect greater challenges in figuring out how exactly to stay within the rules Valve has laid out for games on the Steam platform. "From what understand, pornographic content has been understood to mean 'uncensored sexual content', generally detached from a plot and just meant to be explicitly arousing. This is vague, but surely something akin to Witcher style sex scenes isn’t the same as blatant pornography?"

Unfortunately, the vagueness of the rules has had an impact in how Top Hat Studios decides to release their games on the Steam platform. "In recent times, it seems there was a slight change, and now anything suggestive or with nudity isn’t okay, and even casual nudity needs censor bars in the very least, and sexually suggestive text must be censored or altered," the Top Hat Studios representative began. "This would seem to be a change from 2017 given not really just our library, but what we’ve observed on the market; it’s very hard to tell however due to a frustrating lack of direct transparency, especially as, to our knowledge, no guidelines have explicitly changed."

With today's revelations from other developers, the uncertainty on the platform has led to a shift at Top Hat Studios. "We will certainly be a lot more careful about what content we release as to stay within Steam’s guidelines of no casual nudity or sexually suggestive content, even if that means we need to strip more content out of the base game and offer it in patches." Thankfully, this particular company still intends to focus on delivering their product to the customer exactly how they'd like it. "We want to make sure customers can receive the full game no matter what platform they choose to buy on, and we’re dedicated to making sure everyone gets a fair deal, while still abiding by platform regulations to the best of our ability."

liar soft kindred spirits on the roof
Mangagamer states that Valve reviewed Kindred Spirits on the Roof and required no changes at the time of its initial release.

As for Mangagamer, they've stated that the developers of Kindred Spirits On The Roof have received a similar e-mail from Valve regarding the state of their game. The public statement has the following tidbit from the e-mail they say they received from Valve:

We've discovered pornographic depictions in your product: Kindred Spirits on the Roof. This is a violation of our rules and guidelines for content that can be distributed on the Steam platform. We won’t be able distribute the product on Steam as long as it includes pornographic depictions.
Mangagamer had made a concerted effort to run absolutely everything that might be deemed questionable past Valve and their game got the okay for publication on the Steam Store. Similar to the tales of other developers, this apparent shift in policy seems as if it's come out of nowhere with little to no explanation of how exactly they are breaking the rules or why what was okay yesterday is no longer acceptable today.

Dharker Studios has had two titles of theirs receive similar e-mails, Battle Girls and Galaxy Girls. Much like the other developers on here, they have received a vague message citing "pornographic content" with no specific examples relating to their individual games. They had the following to say on the matter:

We were notified by Valve about two games as mentioned, but were not given specifics on what was wrong with them or what content was inappropriate, we rechecked their rules and believe our games are not in violation in their current form. As such we have replied to Steam requesting they advise specifically what content is considered as inappropriate and in breach of their rules.

When that information is provided we will update the games accordingly. Future games will take any new censorship requirements into account.

Furthermore, Dharker Studios stated that the e-mail they received did not come from the Steam representative who they normally work with. In their view, they believe that Valve may be targeting a certain style of game as no news has come to light about other titles with adult-oriented content from publishers outside the scope of anime-esque games.

dharker studios galaxy girls
Galaxy Girls by Dharker Studios has you commanding a spaceship that is crewed entirely by women.

Dharker Studios thinks this may come down to an automated system in some fashion. "Based on what little information I have and the email I was sent, I believe they have looked at the number of flags for inappropriate content a game has received versus total sales, plus possibly inappropriate images on the steam hub and contacted companies accordingly," a representative from the company stated.

They concluded their response to us by affirming their commitment to abide by the rules of the platform in order to continue offering their products on the platform.

In the wider scope of the whole scenario, Mangagamer's Press Director had something to say on the subject in a press release from the company:

"This is terrible news for everyone in the visual novel industry and the gaming industry as whole. We followed every guideline provided to us by Valve to the letter, so there is no reason for this title to be cut off when it has conformed to the standards provided. The sexual content present in Kindred Spirits is no worse that what can readily be found in titles like The Witcher series, yet those remain unaffected. When we launched Gahkthun of the Golden Lightning on Steam, we took it through the ESRB rating system because it featured content that was slightly more explicit than that of Kindred Spirits, and that passed review with a Mature rating, not AO.
The company has reaffirmed their commitment to publishing adult-oriented games on their independent platform. They're not the only ones, of course - adult digital games distributor Nutaku has put out a similar statement on their Twitter account inviting any and all affected developers to submit games to their platform where they will be able to peddle their wares free of censorship:


If Valve has for some reason decided to bring the hammer down on hentai/pornographic games, it seems that there are at least two companies who are all too happy to step up and host the developer's work on their platforms. We are still waiting to hear from a number of companies involved in this situation. We'll continue to update the piece as new details come to light.

Disclosure: Nutaku provides perks for TechRaptor members, and TechRaptor participates with an affiliate linking program with Nutaku.

Update #4: The situation continues to evolve as so far today, we've found out about two more games that have been sent similar letters by Valve.

First up, Sekai Project revealed their game Re;Lord 1 ~The witch of Herfort and stuffed animals~, developed by Escu:de/Element was sent the letter. According to them, this and Tropical Liquor are the only two games in their library impacted by this so far.


In a follow-up tweet, they did clarify that versions on Denpasoft would not be affected by this.

Additionally, WinterWolves has said their title Roomates got hit with a similar email there, although none of their other titles have been. In other tweets, they explain that future games on Steam will be like the mobile appstores with no "suggestive content", although the version on the WinterWolves site and on Itch.io will be uncensored.


We will continue to update this as more information becomes available.

Update #5: We missed this bit of information earlier, but it seems that Top Hat Studios has indeed received one of these e-mails from Valve regarding their game Karmasutra:


Sekai Project has responded to us, simply stating that they are working with Valve to resolve this issue and that they have no further comment at this time.

We've also heard back from Riva Celso of Winter Wolves, developer of Roommates. The answers I've received from this developer echo what I've heard from others in this space: they've heard of some of their fellow developers dealing with a similar issue, they seem to have noticed a shift in policy from Valve, and they've received no specific explanation as to what specific content in their game needs to be changed.

winter wolves roommmates
Winter Wolves' Roommates has players experiencing their first year of university in a co-ed living space.

A particular quote from Mr. Celso perfectly encapsulates the issue at hand:

Personally I'm against any form of censorship, though I understand when running a big store like Steam, sometimes they need to follow external laws. I think though the sudden change of policy is a big problem both for developers and users, since they went from "no pornography" (back in 2014) to "adult content is allowed" (2016-17) and now they're doing this.

There's even a checkbox "this game has adult content" and an age gate: what's its purpose then? I think it would make sense if developers tried to sell a game without stating clearly it has adult content. But if you provide an option to tag the game, have an age gate where users must state their age and click to confirm, I think then it's a bit pointless to remove games with adult content, don't you agree?

At the moment, Winter Wolves plans to do the same thing as some other developers are doing: treat Steam like the App Store or Google Play and remove any adult content from their game so as to avoid the risk of their titles being pulled entirely.

Nutaku, a digital distributor of adult-oriented video games, responded to us earlier today as well. A representative from Nutaku confirmed that they have heard from multiple developers who are dealing with this issue. They declined to name any names, leaving it to each developer to come forward should they choose to do so (as many have already).

As for Steam's policy, Nutaku doesn't really work with them in the same way as some of these other companies. They declined to comment on the specifics of something they are not well-informed about. However, they did mention that there's a general feeling of the policy being vague and stated that it must be a very frustrating situation for game developers in the adult gaming space.

I asked the Nutaku representative what their thoughts were on the current state of the adult gaming industry and they had the following to say about it:

The adult gaming market is definitely rising and we’ve been able to see the growth of the industry firsthand through the success that Nutaku has had. Aside from the growth of the number of players and number of games on the Nutaku platform, we’ve been opening doors to a lot of developers and giving them the ability to see their games succeed by distributing their titles to a rapidly growing audience of players who are eager to get their hands on these types of games. Adult gaming in other markets, such as Japan, has already seen great success throughout the years, and a large focus for Nutaku is in trying to change the stigma surrounding adult gaming in the Western markets. We want to give developers all around the world a chance to succeed, and for fans to be able to enjoy the content they are looking for.
We sent out an additional round of questions to developers. Specifically, we were looking to see how exactly their censorship scheme works in their respective games. Some of the people we talked do did not want to be specifically named for a number of different reasons. A common issue was that they wanted to refrain from discussing technical details publicly while they were still trying to figure out what exactly Valve wants them to do.

A portion of the developers had simple unlock schemes for the uncensor patch. That is, the pornographic content is delivered via Steam but is inaccessible unless a tiny patch is applied to unlock it. A comment from a Valve employee on a Reddit thread highlights what the issue may be here:

Although I cannot refer to any specific decision or any particular title, I can say for certain that - much like the GTA “hot coffee” scandal - if prohibited content is delivered over Steam as part of the game data and just “unlocked” by the patch file, that could be considered a violation of the Steam distribution agreement.
Other developers stated that the Steam version of the game contains no pornographic material whatsoever or relatively tame stuff such as topless women. The uncensor patches contain the actual files with said content and are hosted elsewhere.

Strangely, a few of the developers don't use uncensor patches at all. Valve had looked over their games - very thoroughly (in some cases) at the request of the developer - and approved them as is without requiring any changes to be made. These games that had previously been approved in their entirety with no alterations are now being told that they are in violation of Valve's policy regarding pornographic content. This makes it all the more difficult to discern what exactly the issue is with these games, even more so because Valve has yet to release a public statement on this matter.

We've added a list of developers who have stated to have been affected by this issue at the top of the article along with their games based on the information we have so far. We've also added in some images throughout the article so you can see some of the games that have been affected by this event. We will continue to update this piece as events progress, and we kindly ask that you let us know about any other developers or related information on this topic by sending us an e-mail to tips@techraptor.net.

Disclosure: Nutaku provides perks for TechRaptor members, and TechRaptor participates with an affiliate linking program with Nutaku.

Update #6: We have a couple of new tidbits of information that have come to light.

Another developer affected by this wave of e-mails has come to light: Winged Cloud has had to delay their game Sakura Sadist in order to change the content of the game prior to its release. The developer mentions that a number of their titles have received e-mails similar to the ones we've been seeing other devs receive.

Lupiesoft - one of the first developers to publicly come forward about receiving one of these e-mails from Valve -  has discounted Mutiny!!  and its DLC 90% off in protest of the situation they and other adult game developers are dealing with:


If the game even remotely interests you, there's no reason not to pick it up at the price of $0.99 each. Here's what's currently on sale:

We're reaching out to Winged Cloud and other developers who may have been affected by this issue.

Update #7: Another title is claiming to have been hit by the wave of e-mails. Publisher Hammerfist Games has come forward stating that their game DEEP SPACE WAIFU is in a bit of trouble:


Unlike other affected games, Deep Space Waifu is not a visual novel, instead being a shoot-em up of the anime variety with an 18+ patch.

Update #8: The story continues to unfold here, with several new updates.

First and foremost is that Valve seems to have at last talked to someone. It appears they have reached out to developers and publishers who were contacted previously, stating that they are re-evaluating each title and will provide specific content on it. While we have yet to confirm all developers were reached out, we can confirm that MangaGamer, HunieDevSekai Project, Dharker Studios, and Obscurasoft have all received emails to that effect. We are working to confirm the situation in regards to other studios.

Beyond that, you may have noticed a new name on our list, Obscurasoft. The creators of Coming Out On Top, a gay dating sim that was released in 2014. They stated yesterday they had received the first email but today were one of the developers posting about receiving the new email.

Finally, Top Hat Games posted a lengthier statement on the matter to TwitLonger, explaining they didn't think it was related to any specific genre and discussed some changes they had made to titles other than Karmasutra to fit on Steam.

We will continue to follow this story and update as more information becomes available.

Update #9: Forest Fortress (developed & published by Flaming Firefly) informed us that they have received an e-mail from Steam on this issue as well as a second e-mail to disregard the initial notice like many devs on here.

Winter Wolves (developers of Roommates) tweeted that they have similarly received the second e-mail from Valve:


It appears that most of the developers who have received the initial e-mails from Steam have also received the follow-up e-mail rescinding the two-week timeline for changing their games. We'll continue to update as new facts come in.

What do you think of Valve allegedly mandating changes to HuniePop due to it violating Steam’s policy on pornographic content? Do you think Steam should allow sexually explicit games on their platform at all or would you prefer that they remain segregated on a different service? Let us know in the comments below!

Have a tip, or want to point out something we missed? Leave a Comment or e-mail us at tips@techraptor.net

A photograph of TechRaptor Senior Writer Robert N. Adams.
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One of my earliest memories is playing Super Mario Bros. on the Nintendo Entertainment System. I've had a controller in my hand since I was 4 and I… More about Robert N