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2018 Valve Starts Steam Purge of Visual Novels & Ecchi Content, Religious Organization NCOSE Claims Responsibility Valve Starts Steam Purge of Visual Novels & Ecchi Content, Religious Organization NCOSE Claims Responsibility
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Valve Starts Steam Purge of Visual Novels & Ecchi Content, Religious Organization NCOSE Claims Responsibility

Censorship

Christopher M
Published
05.23.2018
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At the end of last week, several visual novels and ecchi game developers were notified by Valve that they must remove sexual content from their games or risk being removed from the Steam Store for policy violations. Some of the affected games include HuniePop, Kindred Spirits, Mutiny!! and Tropical Liquor.

Archive: https://archive.li/NoQJC Archive: https://archive.li/WdHiF Archive: https://archive.li/jrq3L Archive: https://archive.li/ALphB

The anti-porn Christian organization National Center on Sexual Exploitation (NCOSE) claimed responsibility. Taking to social media in celebration of the supposed victory from their two-year-long campaign against Valve.

Archive: https://archive.li/Ki5FM

The Christian organization calls Valve & Steam "a major contributor to sexual exploitation" with their two-year campaign including the publication of misleading extremist content to pressure Valve in removing all sexual content from Steam. Telling their followers to send out premade tweets like:

  • By selling House Party, @steam_games is normalizing Brock Turner-style rape
  • @steam_games is marketing pornographic/sexually coercive games to millions of children.
  • A message to @steam_games and the gaming community at large: rape and sexual harassment is NOT a game. #NotAGame
  • .@steam_games please remove the game House Party - black bars over the nudity are not enough - this game is all about coercing or tricking women into sex. #parentingtips #onlinesafety #videogames
  • Thank you @Steam_Games for saying no more to sexual violence how-to videogames on your platform. This is a real solution to our culture's #MeToo problems. Stop normalizing rape, sexual violence, incest, trafficking.

As well as publishing and sharing around extreme articles about Valve and Steam with titles such as:

  • BREAKING: Popular Videogame Distributor Advertises "Porno Studio" Game to Millions of Children
  • Steam Video Game Company May Pixelate Nudity, but Keep Rape
  • Videogame Company Tries to Block Concerns about Pornographic, Sexually Coercive Games
  • Videogame Company Leaves Themes of Rape "100% In-Tact"
  • Steam Announces Release of a New App, Makes it Easier to Access Exploitative Content
  • Gamers react to NCOSE's fight against sexually exploitive video games
  • VICTORY: Steam to remove sexually explicit and violent videogames from platform

NCOSE lists video games such as The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt and Mass Effect: Andromeda as proof of sexual exploitation and rape on the Steam platform. Claiming that "a clear connection exists between raping an individual and practicing rape in a virtual world," citing "[a] meta-analysis of 46 studies." They however, don't list nor name any of the 46 studies used in the "meta-analysis." I've contacted them in regards to the 46 studies but haven't received anything back.

Dawn Hawkins, Executive Director at NCOSE, released a statement following the news of the Steam purge, "We are grateful to Steam for taking a socially responsible stand against sexually exploitive videogames. Steam hosts approximately 35 million users who are children and teenagers, yet it also has hosted videogames that promote themes of sexual violence, exhibitionism, and rape, often depicting child-like characters in sexual scenes. It's about time that the videogame community is responding to this #MeToo moment, and is distancing itself from gamified sexual violence. Some game developers are claiming that Valve is 'censoring' them, but Valve is a private company that can--and should--make decisions based on creating a safe and user-friendly environment for its users. When videogames include sexually graphic and degrading themes the user is not only a voyeur but an active participant in staging the scene. As our society suffers from the consequences of campus sexual assault, military sexual assault, and rising child-on-child sexual abuse, we see that normalizing the sexual use (and often abuse) of others in videogames is irresponsible on the corporate and social level. We thank Steam for its decision, and encourage other gaming sites and stores to follow their lead." (Archive)

The National Center on Sexual Exploitation now operates under the #MeToo movement, believing it's from "a result of human beings accepting and acting upon the rape myths fed to us in pornography. If we want to change the culture, we must address the movies, television shows, magazines, video games, songs, books, and websites that promote any form of sexual exploitation."

Upon receiving backlash from the gaming community, NCOSE's VP of Advocacy Haley Halverson took to Twitter calling the opposition "troll bots", with the removal being a "wake up call to get out of your parents' basement & get into counseling."

Archive: https://archive.li/IB8FT

Steam already disallows pornography in its rules and guidelines(archive) for developers and requires published content to be appropriately labeled and age-gated. Many of the impacted devs and publishers claim that they worked with Steam & Valve to make sure their games followed the guidelines. MangaGamer in regards to their title Kindred Spirits, "We went to great pains to run the game's content by Valve representatives--including sending along every potentially questionable graphical asset along with advanced builds of the title--to ensure that that feeling was mutual. The game would have never appeared on the platform if we had not confirmed with Valve representatives that they did not feel the content was pornographic and was appropriate for the platform. Despite our best efforts to respect both the letter and spirit of Valve's content guidelines as we were made to understand them, we are wholly in the dark with this latest apparent shift in policy as no clear guidelines or standards have been provided. We will seek to negotiate with Valve to keep Kindred Spirits as-is on the Steam Store to the best of our ability, but failing that we still require guidelines to modify the title and future titles to fit these new, apparently stricter standards." (Archive)

Indie studio Lupiesoft on their title Mutiny!!, "In fact @Lupiesoft has been one of the strictest developers in terms of following Steam's guidelines, and absolutely nothing in Mutiny!! violates their guidelines. After our Steam publisher @MangaGamer met with Valve in person, they were told that ecchi content was fine on steam. It seems this new change violates what Valve agreed to before, and the entirety of the Visual Novel genre on Steam is feeling the effects of this nuclear option. Every developer big & small, no matter how much they followed Steam's guidelines to the letter is having games pulled. From Huniepop, to SonoHanabira, to Mutiny!!, the message is clear, if your game has sexy anime-inspired art in it, get it gone, while western games which are 100x more pornographic content escape unscathed. One rule for them, and no rules for us." (Archive)

Valve has since then notified the affected developers and publishers, telling them to disregard their earlier email as Valve reviews their games. However, this doesn't mean that the games won't be removed from the Steam store, as Valve could still find them in violation of Steam policies.

Archive: https://archive.li/x8Isi Archive: https://archive.li/xXKl2

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