In the latest chapter in Valve's ongoing saga of answering, "What goes on Steam?" the company has apparently hit pause on new adult game releases. Several developers have reported updates or new releases are not being approved until Steam's promised filter system is firmly in place.
The most detailed report of this comes from Love in Space, developer of Shining Song Starnova. The developer has been waiting for Steam to approve its release build for over a month now, and in a recent Twitter update, gave this as the reason why the game hadn't launched yet:
"We've now been updated by Valve in regards to Shining Song Starnova, the summary is that they are working on new features to give people more control over the content they see and SSS has been identified as needing these features in place before it can go live on Steam," it reads. "Unfortunately we've not been able to get a timeline on this but we'll continue to keep you all informed once we have new information as well as any other decisions we make in the meantime."
Love in Space isn't the only developer affected by this. Techraptor reports that publisher Sekai Project has had the same issue with multiple titles for two months, and according to a post on the Steam forums, Kukhtenkov Georgiy has been unable to release Boobs Saga for the same reason and has been forced to delay a planned release date.
So, what is Valve holding them for? Apparently, a better filter system. Last May, Valve unexpectedly instructed a number of established adult games (largely anime visual novels) on Steam to censor certain aspects of their games, or be removed from Steam. This didn't go over well, and after a backlash, Valve backpedaled on their requests and permitted the games to continue under a new policy: everything is now allowed on Steam except games that are considered "illegal or trolling."
To facilitate the new policy, Valve promised improved filtering tools to allow users to better avoid content they do not wish to see, including adult games. There is currently no given ETA on how long it will take for such a system to be put in place and, consequently, no timeline for when adult games like Shining Song Starnova might release.