Things were looking dicey for a little while, but it seems like Valve is set to start allowing uncensored adult games onto Steam. Well, some of them, anyway—starting with Dharker Studio’s lingerie-centric visual novel, Negligee: Love Stories.
Today Dharker announced that the game—previously stuck in limbo while Valve sorted out tools that’d allow users to filter objectionable content—will be coming to Steam on Friday. The developer says it’ll be its “first ever 100% uncensored game on Steam” and added that there’s “no patch needed.”
For the past few months, Valve put a hold on the release of many games that prominently feature adult content while it worked on new Steam filtering tools so it could follow through with its controversial new “allow everything” policy. After months in limbo, developers began to worry that their uncensored games wouldn’t be allowed on Steam even after the filtering tools were in place. At the time, Valve wouldn’t confirm or deny their suspicions, only saying that more robust filtering tools could still be “months” away.
So, what changed? Well, Steam has now bolstered its suite of filtering tools—which previously centered mostly around violence—with mature and sexual content filters that require developers to fill out a “mature content survey” describing their games’ specific naughty and/or gory bits so that users can understand what they’re getting into before visiting store pages. Dharker director Adam Tilley told Kotaku in an email that Valve recently reached out to let him know he could re-submit Negligee, and once he filled out the survey, his underwear video game was free to frolic.
“I submitted the full uncensored edition for review, and they had no issues with the content since I filled in the survey properly,” Tilley said.
I reached out to other developers I’ve spoken to in the past about this issue, and they reported mixed results. Boobs Saga, a “satirical 3D action” game about escaping from a dungeon and probably also boobs, hasn’t been approved yet, but developer Georgiy Kukhtenkov told me in a DM that he was asked to fill out the mature content survey, too.
Things aren’t going so smoothly for James Cox, developer of You Must Be 18 Or Older To Enter, a lo-fi horror game about porn that’s not actually porn itself. His game got booted from Steam last year, and he said in an email that he hasn’t been able to resubmit it yet.
“I’m in the middle of Steam Support exchanges with Valve asking if it’s under review or if they need to reinstate it on their end,” said Cox. “Unfortunately, the game is still hidden from the store, and the game’s specific URL redirects to the general Steam storefront. There’s a chance I’m missing some step in republishing the game, but after scouring the documentation, I think it’s stuck in some grey zone where it’s ‘released’ but not ‘published,’ and I’ll need them to unhide it on their end.”
As for Tilley, he’s happy his game can finally come out on Steam, but he has reservations about the new filtering system.
“The one downside about all of this is, I think most people do not know about this new filter and, what’s more, do not realize that it is enabled by default (removing these mature adult games from their store),” he said. “Hopefully, though, awareness of that will grow with time, as it did when the last set of filters were added.”