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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.

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Matthew Handrahan avatar

Matthew Handrahan


Matthew Handrahan joined GamesIndustry in 2011, bringing long-form feature-writing experience to the team as well as a deep understanding of the video game development business. He previously spent more than five years at award-winning magazine gamesTM.