“The issue is, [Valve] isn’t going to remove The Witcher or Grand Theft Auto or anything like that from Steam [despite their sexual content],” says Rasmussen. “We’re the smallest kind of demographic without any kind of lobbying power. We can’t influence Valve to leave us alone.” While we still don’t (and may never) know exactly why Steam sent and then retracted those takedown notices, it has left many visual novel creators even less confident about what sexual content is acceptable on the platform, and more concerned that their work will unexpectedly be categorized as pornography. That’s going to hurt visual novel developers the most, but it’s going to make things worse for the vitality and diversity of gaming at large, too.
Being Dutch, America’s obsession with trying to curtail nudity, sex, and pornography, all the while allowing the most grotesque forms of brutal violence without so much as batting an eye, will never cease to amaze me. Steam is filled to the brim with overly violent video games with the most realistic rendering of gore, yet it’s the cartoon-style content with boobs everybody seems to stumble over.
It’s just sex. Nobody’s going to get scarred for life from seeing naked women and men, so stop obsessing over it, slap an 18+ label on it, and be done with it.