Regarding Recent Inquires Into Steam Content Policy Notices

We would like to confirm, along with so many other developers who have come forward, that our title, Kindred Spirits, has also been targeted by Steam’s sudden and abrupt content policy shift and has been threatened with removal if the content of the game is not modified.

As you may recall from our own announcements and coverage in several news outlets, we and many others in the industry considered the release of Kindred Spirits unaltered on the platform a positive shift in the treatment of tasteful, mature content on the platform. We stand by our assertion then that content of the game is not pornographic, but an earnest and tasteful exploration of sexuality.

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.

Regardless of Steam’s content policies, MangaGamer remains committed to excellent games and stories being told as they were meant to be. We have a long history of this commitment in the digital space relative to the majority of our competitors, and we invite any developers and partners who would like to sell on our platform to get in touch at support@mangagamer.com as we prepare to upgrade it in coming months for more clients, partners, and community building. Remember that in buying directly through us, more of your purchase goes directly to the game’s developers rather than a significant portion going to retail platform fees.

We will continue to post developments as they progress on this topic. All press requests should be made to our press director, John Pickett, kouryuu@mangagamer.com.

UPDATE 5/19 7:28p.m. EDT: We have just received word from Valve to disregard the previous notice. According to the e-mail, Kindred Spirits will be re-reviewed and we will be provided with specific feedback if there are concerns about the game’s content. We sincerely appreciate Valve’s prompt response with respect to this issue.

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127 Comments

  1. They may take away our lives, but they’ll never take our Yuri!

  2. Do not bend to this Valve Fascism

  3. Maidens of Michael wasn’t a mistake, it was a precursor.

    I would never buy a censored release of a title over its 18+ original anyway, so Steam is not really my first choice of storefront for most visual novels, but Valve’s actions the past couple months with regard to all this (since Maidens of Michael’s removal) has been absolutely unacceptable. How can any developer or publisher trust Valve to put their game on Valve’s platform? How can I as a customer support these practices? Besides which, I can’t give them my money if they don’t sell the games I want.

    Most importantly, as a visual novel fan what does this mean for the future of the Western VN market? Even if Steam isn’t a particularly great marketplace for VNs, it’s still the largest PC gaming market and any exposure is welcome for what are relatively niche games. The totality of this situation is very, very troubling.

    • I disagree, it’s obvious that steam wants to invalidate its storefront. They are many different Storefronts like mangagamer, nutaku and Fakku that actually want to release games uncensored.

      In addition the only way i buy a VN on steam is with a guaranteed restoration patch and that only if it would?not available elsewhere

  4. Talk on the Steam forums has brought up that this may be an issue with Washington State’s laws on pornography distribution. Even if Steam and MangaGamer don’t view Kindred Spirits as porn, it’s entirely possible that the law does due to the longstanding prejudice VNs have among many as still just being porn, albeit with plot.

    As a result, Steam may be enforcing this shift out of fear of legal action, though it seems that games relegating their 18+ content to optional patches download outside of Steam are still in the clear.

    • *Of course, the way Steam has handled the situation by just suddenly dumping all of these notices on everyone with no sort of explanation on their part has been an utter crock of shit.

  5. Would be awesome if you could use different currencies with regional pricing. That’s the main reason why me and others buy from Steam. For us, paying in dollar is simply too expensive.

  6. I’d like to know if censoring everything will affect Maidens of Michael too, so it can be back up again.

  7. Even Gahktun must be in danger then…very disappointing…

    • I would laugh if Steam started attacking games rated M by the ESRB. That’s just plain ridiculous at that point. Kindred Spirits might be able to get an M rating if MG asked the ESRB, though they might not give such a rating for one reason or another.

      In the off chance MG decides to resort to having censored versions being rated by the ESRB, that would mean that MG would no longer be able to provide official 18+ patches.

  8. Wait . So i have kindred spirits on steam. Is my purchase secure ? It’s not going to stop working at some point , right ?

    • Speaking from what happened with Maidens of Michael, customers who already own the game can keep the game in their library in the worst case even after the store page disappears.

    • You can play it whenever you want.

    • As long as you bought it while it was available, any game will always be available in your library. There is no guarantee that you will ever be able to download it again, though, if you uninstall it or want to install on another device, since it may eventually be removed from Steam’s servers altogether. Your best bet would be to make sure to keep all of your Steam purchase receipts that should be sent to your e-mail and provide them directly to the Publisher if the downloads ever are taken down. They might be willing to compensate.

  9. Please introduce gift cards that can be bought with PayPal cash… sell them on another platform like G2A (or whatever).

    • You can buy points from MG using paypal, just email them and they’ll set you up.

      • That is nice to know. I never knew that. Sometimes, I have had my card declined when purchasing directly from the MG Store, though I have eventually been able to get orders through after they disappear from the card transaction list.

    • fuck G2A for their support of fraudulent key reselling (ie. mass buying keys with stolen credit cards which get charged back) and their mafia style extortion on devs with their “insurance policy” on stolen keys like this

  10. U CAN NEVER TAKE MY YURI AWAY STEAM !!!

  11. Please unite with Sekai and maybe JUST and together make your own download client that would center around visual novels. The Steam random restrictions are getting ridiculous lately.

  12. Jefferson Thacker

    This is horrible. There needs to be an organized campaign to stop Valve from gong forward with this decision, or at least let them know that it is unwanted.

    • Oh, I’m sure they know it’s unwanted. However, they don’t care. They make plenty of money off of AAA titles and the asset flip trading card scheme.

  13. Who knows Valve perhaps concluded some agreement with the catholic church lately. This at least would explain the sudden hate against sexiness.

    Well, we now perhaps should try to get counterstrike banned for adulation of terrorism, which in my eyes is for sure way worse than some sexiness. Or why not restart the Killer Games debate of the nineties, this for sure will be bad for business.

    They must learn that giving in to some SJW is playing with fire, it can spread quickly. If they give in to SJWs that hate sexiness, you suddenly have to give in to SJWs hating brutality, drugs, blood, gore, war themes and whatever too. In the end you can close the store front because everything will be targeted.

  14. Who knows Valve perhaps concluded some agreement with the catholic church lately. This at least would explain the sudden hate against sexiness.

    Well, we now perhaps should try to get counterstrike banned for adulation of terrorism, which in my eyes is for sure way worse than some sexiness. Or why not restart the Killer Games debate of the nineties, this for sure will be bad for business.

    They must learn that giving in to some SJW is playing with fire, it can spread quickly. If they give in to SJWs that hate sexiness, you suddenly have to give in to SJWs hating brutality, drugs, blood, gore, war themes,.. too. In the end you can close the store front because everything will be targeted.

    • It isn’t “SJWs”, it’s anti-sex social conservatives. Plenty of people regularly called “SJW” are equally upset about this.

  15. Pingback: Valve threatens to pull games now deemed ‘sexually explicit’ from Steam – GameReview

  16. This – this is one of the many, many, MANY reasons why I utterly hate Steam and flat out refuse to use their service.

  17. This is probably related to the recent passage of FOSTA/SESTA by Congress. While the bill is purportedly about sex trafficking, the provisions in it are vague enough that they could refer to literally anything that could be construed to ‘promote’ it. Such as video games like this one.

    Not saying “don’t blame Valve”. But don’t get so caught up in blaming them that you miss the ones actually responsible.

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  19. Hello Friends,
    look at that

    https:twitter.com/ncose/status/997484630273032192

  20. Pingback: Steam Game Developers That Do Not Censor Sexual Content Will Be Removed: Valve - Techno news and Information Desk

  21. I’m actually only here for Rance, but I understand how frustrating and exhausting all of this must be. So I hope for the best and wish you success guys! Hang in there!

  22. Steam is hypocrite, Steam never censored games like GTA V, The Witcher III and Mafia II.

  23. Interestingly enough, the woman who wrote that article once accused a male airline passenger she was sitting next to at the time of looking at child pornography just because the porn he was watching on his iPad at the time had Asian women in it.

    Also, the organization in question is “Morality in Media,” which does business under NCOSE.

    • Can we mail them some actual h games(physical copies on mass) to show them what a actual porn game is…… How about 1000 copies of koihime musou, I mean Jesus Christ the games that got targeted aren’t even h games since they are censored.

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  41. Dear Mangagamer if you don’t start do some protest or any other official action, than in few years they will make law even more restrictive. If something isn’t done about it we your custommers will lose a way to buy our games. You have to be aware if one of this anty porn organization get something they are going to try get more.

    • I agree. They will only try to censor more and more game. This could get even worse.

    • Oh, they’re probably gonna fight this. However, I doubt anything positive will come from it. The people for censorship have new, poorly worded laws on their side. We, on the other hand, are just a trickle of the income Steam makes, compared to the money they make through things like PUBG.

      Basically, we have no negotiating power.

    • It’s not just Mangagamer that needs to stand up, it’s all of us. We are the true voice of power and if we don’t start standing up for all of our rights and freedoms, local, state and federal governments as well as private enterprise are going to take them all away

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  46. This is absolutely ridiculous, and the main reason why I never buy games through Steam when given the chance. They have such a ridiculous enforcement of their completely unknown rules, that you can never trust your purchases to be safe. I really do feel for you MangaGamer, as you are the best VN provider out there. At this point, I honestly don’t think it’s possible to fight Valve on this, as they will just change rules in the future again. I highly suggest directly contacting other adult companies (Fakku, Denpasoft, Nutaku, maybe even Pornhub) to come up with a better solution for everyone looking to enjoy your content. An “Adult Steam” if you will.

  47. Anybody else find it funny that they want to ban games that are seemingly pornographic but it;s cool to download Player Unknown and murder a bunch of people. Sex is bad, murder is good. Hmm, seems kind of messed up to me.

  48. Generally I’ve preferred the Steam + Patch route – but that’s mostly because the current download infrastructure on MG and Denpa just isn’t that great – if we could find a way to improve this, it would be nice. Also, Steam tends to have more / better sales. Regional pricing doesn’t affect me, but I understand it affects others.

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  56. I don’t really play very many VNs but I will now always keep you guys in mind for recommendations to my friends that do.
    I sincerely wish you the best of luck and will also keep you in mind, support you when I can and all that good stuff as long as you remain committed to your ideals of anti-censorship. You guys have a stellar reputation compared to every other distributor of VNs and whatnot, I hope you continue being ethical champions in that regard, no matter what any pearl-clutching prude would screech at you to do.
    Please feel free to be vocal about your support for this, I know there are many out there who would love to support you guys if they actually knew about you; I only found out about Mangagamer within the last few weeks.

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  58. so i can rip someones spine out in mortal kombat but i can’t have sex with a girl that likes me in the game. sounds about right, America.

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  61. From what I am reading about this, Valve may have caved into pressure from an interest group that against porn of all sorts. They believe that these VNs will end up in the wrong hands based on Steam’s lack of enforcement. Either Steam locks the VNs up in the 18+ section with heavy checks required or they remove it and only allow Nintendo-level content on their site.

  62. Words cannot even describe how frustrated I am with the American culture of violence is great, but sex or even romance is pure evil.

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  64. Pingback: A Steam non piace più il porno

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  70. I don’t know what on earth Valve thinks they will achieve by this.
    Murder anyone you want in GTA 5 – that’s fine.
    Attractive anime woman (Thinking of Vert from Hyperdimension Neptunia here) with cleavage – PURE EVIL! DESTROY IT!
    Can anyone tell me what the hell Valve is thinking?

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  74. Please mangagamer, don’t release a forced patch on kindred spirits if you lose this unfortunate fight.

    Just release a separate (Censored for Steam) version and do a huge discount sale on the normal Kindred Spirits before you remove the ability to buy it. I’ll get everyone i can to buy this beautiful game if the price is low enough for my less interested friends.

    And shoot, if they shutdown kindred spirits, they better remove The Witcher, Grand Theft Auto V, Dragon Age, South Park: Stick of Truth, Leisure Suit Larry, The Wolf Among Us, and Fahrenheit

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  81. I respect you and don’t understand Steam’s policy concerning all this!

  82. Pingback: Steam Game Developers That Do Not Censor Sexual Content Will Be Removed: Valve Rishi Alwani, 2018 19th May – Tech Hacker

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  90. Jaime Chávez-Riva

    Mangagamer, does something stops you from following the nekopara strategy?
    Just cut off the ecchi scenes and notify gamers to download it with an external free (or charged, do as you wish) patch.
    That way there would be no controversial content at all in steam’s servers and they should stop annoying immediately.
    Or am i missing something?

    • You are missing that Steam send the takedown notices, after talks with and approval by Steam
      You missed that Steam send takedown motices to already censored games

    • Yep, you are missing quite a lot.
      The games are already censored and this is a witch hunt.
      Valve agreed to their release and some of them have been of Steam for over 3 years.

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