HuniePop (and similar games) Banned From Steam?!?!?

huniepop no

I don’t play through a whole lot of Dating Sims or Visual Novels, but DatingSim/Puzzle hybrid HuniePop is one of few exceptions. I very much enjoyed the game, and have been looking forward to the sequel ever since. I scrolled across something a little concerning yesterday, though.

HuniePop is now at risk of being removed from Steam for violating rules on pornographic content.

At first I thought “Alright, some kid’s mom caught him playing this game and reported it to Steam as obscene”. The problem is that other developers have also apparently received notices from Valve regarding similar games.

This annoys me because:

  1. I’ve owned HuniePop through Steam for 2-3 years now; it’s already been available there for AT LEAST that long.
  2. The only way to actually get full-on nudity in the game is to get the patch from the developer or another outside source. In this regard, it’s the same as literally any other adult mod out there for any other kind of game.
  3. This seems like a targeted strike against a very specific type of game. I have a strong suspicion that Rockstar Games didn’t get this same notice for the adult content in the Grand Theft Auto series….And what about the Witcher games? Do they not also include nude/sexual content?

The pages for HuniePop, Galaxy Girls, etc. are currently still up, but from what I gathered through the HunieDev twitter account, they (including the other developers) have a few weeks to figure things out or the games will be removed from Steam.

While licensor/distributor censorship isn’t anything new, really, I literally cited HuniePop and Steam as an example in a debate against someone on MAL maybe a month or so ago. The user basically thought the sky was falling around Ecchi games and anime due to increased censorship. Up until yesterday, HuniPop and Steam stood as an example of games like that being available on a very popular distribution platform, but minus the truly “adult” content, unless the purchaser was to specifically seek it out.

If the potential ban holds, my argument on this becomes a lot weaker. Sure, developers will still be able to create that type of content; no one is preventing them from doing so, but platforms like Steam are extremely helpful in allowing smaller studios to easily access a large pool of potential customers. Hell, I probably never would have even learned of the damn game I hadn’t scrolled past it during a Steam Sale.

I do eventually plan to bring one of the people from MAL onto the podcast to talk about anime/game normalization and censorship, but I haven’t actually set that up yet. So what your guys’ thoughts on this? Is it much ado about nothing since devs can still create the content and possibly sell it on their own sites or platforms? Or could this legitimately hinder smaller developers and studios that produce sexualized content?

12 thoughts on “HuniePop (and similar games) Banned From Steam?!?!?

  1. The thing that’s most annoying about this, at least for me, is that it doesn’t matter how violent a game is, Steam will sell it, but the second the sexual aspect is involved (and I’m not talking about sexual violence, just sex and nudity) suddenly the sky is falling! But it’s like this across almost all of American pop-culture. It’s sad that people look at graphic violence and barely bat an eye but can’t realise there’s nothing wrong with expressing something as universal as human sexuality.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Mhmmm. Couldn’t agree more on the violence vs sex thing. Movies, television, games, it’s like that across all mediums…

      It’s a particularly annoying double standard in the case of games like GTA and Witcher, though, where they also include sexual content. The only difference is that it’s secondary to the violent content.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. And…
    There it goes- my big tic.
    Why are people so weird about sexuality? It’s really demonized!
    America, the land of “sex, drugs, and rock’n’roll”, treats sexuality as some sort of deviant behavior! And because it’s such taboo, it’s hard to legitimately talk about problems related to it.
    Man… *clicks off to double check sources like a good student*
    This sucks! I don’t even like this stuff, but these games are even age-restricted! Why the hell would someone try to remove them? I just don’t get it!
    *frustrated sounds*
    Like, if you’re going to allow the sexual stuff when it’s dark and serious and not when it’s light and funny…
    WTH does that say about your view of sexuality?

    Don’t let me down like this, Steam!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think it comes down to wanting to make as much money and avoid as much controversy as possible, the issue here is that they’ve allowed this kind of content for YEARS. So why crack down now? Especially given that other games by larger developers are probably still being given the go-ahead. I can’t say that for sure, but I’d probably bet on it.

      I feel like if a lobbysit group of some kind were trying to actively go after this type of content and Valve/Steam was just responding to it in (their opinion) the easiest way possible, we’d have heard about, but I haven’t heard anything about a group recentlt/openly challenging Steam/these games

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I don’t even think there’s anyone really protesting these games either…
        I might not be a big game person, but there’s really not that much backlash to sexual games right now. I’m not really seeing any Anitas out there… no one really saying that these games are ‘problematic’…
        And that’s why I’m saying I just don’t get it. Even from a top down perspective, I can’t see there being enough backlash to warrant the removal of a source of income (even if it’s insignificant).
        It makes zero sense! And it makes me worry about the future of anime games in the west.
        Maybe this is why we don’t have Fate/Stay Night on steam.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. but we do have plenty of other VN games on steam that have been on steam for a while, though chances are some of them are also probably under the gun right now.

        It is very strange, and yeah, seemingly nonsensical as well. I thought the model of offering a censored game as vanilla but allowing people to download the x-rated content elsewhere was a good balance.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Pingback: Podcast Special Feature: Censorship in Anime and Games (Ft. Manaban) – Weeabros

  4. I enjoyed Huniepop a lot. Hopefully the sequel won’t be banned from Steam. From what I have heard, since the the news broke, Valve have backtracked on the issue.

    To be honest it sounds silly given that Steam has a nudity tag you can search for. Also like you say, why pick on niche VNs when GTA and other triple A titles feature mature content.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah I planned on posting update in a few days after those games go through the “re-review” process they’re under. Still a very relevant issue here, though, I think because Steam has been so inconsistent in its enforcement of its own guidelines over the last 5 years or so.

      Liked by 1 person

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