Steam's problem with sex games surfaces again

A modified version of Strangers in a Strange Land is back on sale, users must download a patch to see its sex scenes

Valve has asked another developer to censor sexual content in order for their game to be sold on Steam.

Strangers in a Strange Land, which is described by developer SOMG as an "erotic thriller," was released on July 28, but Valve subsequently removed it from sale due to its sexual content.

The game was reinstated to the store on August 28, with a deliberately jarring new addition. As Kotaku UK noted, when a player encounters a sex scene in the new version of the game, a large red sticker emblazoned with the word "Censored" covers the screen. Players can remove the sticker by downloading an "uncensor patch" and starting a new game.

Speaking to the game's community on Steam, SOMG was unequivocal about the reason for the changes: "It was either to Censor the game and use a Patch to uncensor it or remove the game entirely from Steam."

In July, Eek Games' House Party was also removed from Steam, with Valve asking the developer to add a feature that censors content by default. In both cases, depictions of sex are essential to the experience - and are prominent in each game's marketing - even if, in the case of Strangers in a Strange Land, the scenes themselves are scarcely more explicit than those found in The Witcher 3.

The fact that a game exists primarily to titillate its audience seems to be at the root of Valve's position on this issue.

Related stories

In the Valley of Gods "on hold" indefinitely

Former Campo Santo devs now at Valve have moved to other projects, including Half-Life: Alyx

By Rebekah Valentine

CD Projekt dismisses investor fears over Cyberpunk and Half-Life: Alyx release clash

“That niche is very, very, very -- and I could add a few 'verys' here -- small"

By Matthew Handrahan

Latest comments (3)

Bonnie Patterson Narrative Designer, Writer 2 years ago
Vast amounts of game content exists purely to titillate the audience (and it's almost universally a male audience that such sexualized imagery targets), yet it's only the ones that actually depict sex that run into difficulties.

This is completely backwards. The problem isn't sex, it's the flooding of sex into every other context. You can't make a game about characters having sex, but it's OK to use all the same outfits and language to sexualize the hell out of murder, and war, and car racing and shopping and childhood and everything else, so long as the instrument of the eventual stabbing is a sword, not a penis.

The message shouldn't be "Sex is bad but all women are for getting you off." It should be "Sex is fine but women are people, not Fleshlights™."

Edited 2 times. Last edit by Bonnie Patterson on 4th September 2017 10:01pm

3Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply
Ruben Monteiro Engineer 2 years ago
And why isn't the official position on this made clear by Valve?
We already knew they don't like to do any real work, I guess we now know they don't like to talk about sex either.
0Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply
Klaus Preisinger Freelance Writing 2 years ago
Have you ever heard of a moral crusader who looks at a porn site and the chooses to go after each woman individually? No, they go after the distribution hub, since it is the bigger and not a human being. At the end of the day, the moral outrage is for personal gain and it monetizes better to go after evil corporation instead of going after each woman in a nude picture.
0Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply

Sign in to contribute

Need an account? Register now.