We contacted MangaGamer about Steam’s recent banning of all references to the availability of adult patches for games with sexual content.
The news on Steam’s change of heart comes directly from one of the Western eroge developers on the platform, Dharker Studio. On October 28th, on the Dharker Studio’s Steam Discussion page for Galaxy Girls, a Steam user asked the developers directly how to install an uncensored patch they downloaded directly from the developer’s website, expressing confusion that could not find instructions on the Steam Discussion forums even though they were supposed to be found somewhere on the Galaxy Girls Community page. A representative of Dharker Studio promptly responded that Steam will no longer allow any information or links to the uncensored patches on the platform and that the developer will update their own website on the installation procedure.
The change to Steam’s policy on the patches comes only a few months after erotic game publisher MangaGamer announced they will be providing free content patches for their Steam releases both retroactively and going forward.
Going forward it will be our general policy to provide free content patches for all Steam releases whenever possible where there are content differences between versions. Technical issues or contractual obligations with specific developers may make patching not possible for specific titles, but we will do our utmost to ensure that doesn’t happen. Should patching not be an option for a relevant title, we will inform you before it goes on sale.
We will be working to update some of our existing Steam titles with content patches in the future; however, as our previous Steam releases were designed as separate versions, it may not be immediately possible for some older releases. We will have more information pertaining to previous releases in the coming weeks, so keep your eyes peeled for more good news!
Even with content patching on the table now, stripping our more “mature” offerings of the bulk of their content would just be tragic, so no, you won’t be seeing all-ages euphoria on Steam. That said, you will always be able to pick up our raunchier titles directly from us!
To provide a bit of clarification regarding these changes, LewdGamer has contacted John Pickett, PR Director & Head Translator of MangaGamer, also known by their handle Kouryuu. Kouryuu has confirmed to us that MangaGamer has indeed received a message from Valve on Friday, October 27th, demanding they remove all links and discussion from official sources on Steam.
On Friday, we received a notice from Valve demanding that we remove all links and discussion of adult patches from official sources on Steam, including the Steam Store Pages, and Steam Discussion boards. This is in direct conflict with what we discussed with Valve during our meeting with them, and Valve has not yet given us a reason why this policy has changed. So far they’ve only said they’ll follow up in a few business days.
During our conversation with John Pickett, we also managed to learn that when MangaGamer first started to officially work with Valve they were explicitly told by a Valve representative that official releases of adult patches on Steam and the discussion thereof were against their Terms of Service.
In late April/early May (shortly after Sakuracon), we met directly with Valve staff to discuss Steam, adult patches, adult content on Steam, and other topics.
During our meeting Valve reiterated that anything classified as “pornography” under Washington State Law could never be carried or sold on Steam. It was made rather clear to us after our discussion that adult patches were a sensitive issue for them. It was clear in our talks that official discussion and promotion of paid adult patches was out from the beginning, because that violates Steam’s TOS by using Steam to promote offsite products.
Lastly, we also inquired if Valve’s newest demands include moderating unofficial threads on the Steam Discussion forums for user-posted content.
So far Valve has not made any demands that developers police Steam Discussion boards to remove unofficial discussion or links to adult patches.
Steam’s latest crackdown on adult patches without a doubt affects all publishers and developers of games with sexual content. A few of them, just like MangaGamer and Dharker Studio, have already taken appropriate steps to remove all official mentions of uncensored patches from their store, Steam Discussion and Community pages. Developers of Strangers in a Strange Land have already removed their direct mentions of the patch, prompting other users to repost them on the game’s Steam Discussion board.
What prompted Valve’s change of policy this time around is unknown, as the company rarely, if ever, communicates their decisions on these matters publicly. It is possible, however, that these new rules regarding adult patches will change even more down the line. For now, anyone looking to decensor their lewd Steam adult purchases will have to either look carefully offsite or wait for some of the other Steam users to post the patches in separate unofficial threads.
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