Steam owner Valve has asked a number of visual novel developers to remove some of their games due to pornographic content. The company has since apologised to these developers and told them to disregard the email that gave them a two-week deadline to remove their games from the service. Titles such as HuniePop, Mutiny!! And Kindred Spirits On The Roof which, while certainly risque in places, are certainly no worse than some mainstream games such as The Witcher 3, which also includes sexual content. There are also actual porn games that are available on the service that went unaffected, plus the fact that some of these games are already censored to meet with Steam's standards.
Confusion here seems to be down to the fact that Valve has no set definition of “pornographic”, allowing it to deem anything it likes as such according to its whim and remove it from Steam. Not a particularly stable environment for developers of the ‘scantily clad anime woman’ genre of game, for which there is a sizeable market.
Before Valve rescinded its invitations for these developers to leave their service, a group called the National Centre on Sexual Exploitation (previously Morality in Media) wrote a ‘mission accomplished!’ blog post announcing its victory against the games and taking the credit. It claims that this is a result of a two year campaign to remove explicit material from the service. Anyway, that’s all pointless at this point because Valve has reversed its decision and has apologised to the developers in question.
Publisher MangaGamer, which was asked to remove Kindred Spirits On The Roof from Steam as part of this mess, has put out an invitation to other developers and publishers worried about the instability of Steam. The company has an online storefront which it can use to host other games in the genre and it’s this sense of community within the romantic visual novel space that could lead to a new comprehensive, Steam-style store for fans of the genre.