Valve Pulls Popular Sex Game From Steam; Developer Blames Complaints About 'Pornography'

Image credit: Eek.

When sex comedy game House Party launched on Steam last month, seemingly uncensored, people were surprised. Steam doesn't have a blanket ban on nudity, but it often requires brazenly naughty games to pocket their packages and obscure their unmentionables. In House Party, you can just whip your dick out. Because it's not a party until somebody's dick is out, right?

Yesterday, the game was removed from Steam. In a blog post, the game's developer Eek claimed it got taken down due to "a number of complaints that were sent to Steam about the game." Apparently "pornography" was the main culprit, but Eek said Valve neglected to go into further detail.

House Party, which came out in early access on platforms like Game Jolt before making its way to Steam late last month, is about attending a booze-infused get-together at the home of a woman named Madison and debauching like you've never debauched. You're given a series of objectives — for example, introducing yourself to the party's host and helping a woman retrieve her phone — but many of them lead to risque outcomes.

One involves parading a party-goer's sister around naked as a means of humiliating her. Another is about convincing a woman to let you take topless pics of her to give to your friend. Also, you can remove one character's top as you please (much to her surprise and outrage), and of course, there's the whole dick thing, which — as you might expect — provokes a variety of responses.

The game is not, however, entirely about sex and nudity. You can also start fights with people and generally make a mess of the place. Or you can do your best to just work your way through dialogues and help people out. There are even party games. It's a sandbox where you can do some extremely messed up stuff to people. Eek says the focus of House Party isn't titillation, but rather "comedy" in the style of raunchy old-school games like Leisure Suit Larry.

As a result of all the potential for shenanigans, House Party became popular on YouTube, with heavy hitters like jacksepticeye, NerdCubed, and MattShea featuring it on their channels. Over the past few months, it's gained widespread popularity and infamy, which only increased when it hit Steam and sold upwards of 30,000 copies, according to both the game's developer and SteamSpy.

Valve, said Eek, wasn't very clear on which specific elements of the game it found to be bannable offenses.

"I know there are many games with nudity, and there are also games with sex scenes as well, including really popular titles, so it's all rather confusing and I don't know exactly where the line is or what in particular I should be censoring," Eek wrote. In a follow-up comment to Kotaku, Eek added that House Party plays host to a number of player-created stories, claiming that there have been "many complaints of things that aren't actually in the official game, but were instead player created content." I reached out to Valve for clarification on the exact nature of the complaints that caused it to take the game down, but as of this writing, it had yet to get back to me.

For now, Eek plans to tone down the Steam version of House Party and try again. "I don't want to censor anything if I don't have to," the developer wrote, "and I am also looking into ways to allow Steam users to convert or mod their version of the game to the original version. However, it won't be delivered that way from Steam moving forward."

Dan Starkey contributed reporting to this story.


Comments

    I think this is pretty silly and indicative Steam needing an adult area, as there is pretty clearly a demand for the games.

      But haven't you heard? Videogames are for kids!

      Won't somebody please think of the children!

        What you are missing is that although not all videogames are for children, children play videogames and browse Steam constantly. Valve is in all its right to disallow games with the potential to generate issues for that reason.

        I am not arguing that the game doesn't have a right to exist or be published. But there are better, more appropriate platforms for that.

          You are right, but I am saying that there is clearly a demand for it on steam too. From a business sense I find it interesting that they aren't pursuing systems to allow integration of mature material.

          What platform would you suggest? Steam seems to be the only feasible choice

            Itch.io jumps to mind. Several indie adult visual novels have been released there.

      there is a huge diversion between an adult area and a game which in part has people actively choosing to take part in the coercion and sexual assault for fun, the problem is adults really aren't the audience for such stupidity, teen age boys is about the upper limit who will think its clever.

        Its not about being clever, I am saying that clearly there is a group of people looking to buy these types of games off Steam.

          university sexual assault simulators, yep, funny/surprising there is a market for that. Its about the last thing there needs to game made of. Its not taken seriously enough in real life as it is.

            To play devils advocate on porno games for a sec, if I had to weigh up the morality of a game about consenting adults having sex or mass murdering people for (insert ridiculous reason here), then I feel like one of these are just us being prudes.

            As the only manager in a front line position, I love murder simulators and while I think that porn games are awkward as fuck, they seem less morally objectionable than blowing people up.

            riiiiiiggghttt.

            committ mass murder in games like GTAV - ALL GOOD!

            Whip out your dick in this game - TOOO FAR TAKE IT DOWN!

            If you are going to be morally outraged at something, At least be consistent buddy. Dont pick and choose.

              hardcore violence is massively frowned upon all through our society, there is no part of it that is seen acceptable by anyone. Where as violence to woman, especially in places like university campus still happens on them all and in large quantities. To various levels. Dont understand that, watch some news, talk to real woman. Misogyny, especially in computer games is still mainstream, the pitiful treatment of females in gaming is still widespread and (and seen as) justified by a lot still, just look at how few female voices you still hear in games talking on mics, compared to how many play. Every wondered why?! (hint assault in just another form) Just go to any Facebook page about any stories to do with woman, I dont know lets pick something at random like having a female Doctor and all that nasty vile anti Feminists rants or pick any youtube site like Raggs, a male gamer tearing about woman for having ideas and all the thousands of comments daily tearing into woman everywhere or tearing about another men for daring to say "enough".

              How much of that bollocks above do you see about justifying murder?! Basically none, where as the vitriol woman still cop daily. Oh how many murders do you hear in our country from campuses compared to how many sexual assaults take place in the same setting, daily. One is still very much raw nerve.

              Oh please, tell me again why in your mind me standing up against sexual assault under any circumstance is bad?! At least the statistical numbers match my opinion, where as you are just happy to win some online debate by saying I think mass murderer is okay (er where did I say that?), what on earth does this have to do with that? its the most tired and unoriginal way to win a conversation. THIS cant be bad, cos THAT is worse. Groan.

                You are conflating games designed around consensual sex with rape; this wrong on so many levels and just makes me think of all the angry feminists mad about losing sexual power over men through those sex dolls.

                You need to take a step back and realise that there is a difference and that all you are doing is trying crack down on people that might have a reason for looking for these games (obviously not talking about rape games).

                  some of the examples they describe arent consensual and some I have seen on a lets play (to understand more about the game) weren't consensual. The fact that college boys all around the world cant tell the difference between either, is sort of the point.

                  @blakeavon pull that 4/5 or whatever bs stat is. Yeah sure, I am sure all men in higher education are rapists, good job there. I went from seeing your point on keeping content like this away from children to seeing that I will not be able to come to an agreement on this subject with you in two sentences.

                  Give me Factual Feninists over drinking from the punch bowl any day.

              ehhhh I get your point but I think it's off the mark. I can have morals that say its okay for murder and that sex is bad.

              Human morality is ALWAYS about picking and choosing.

                I think my points still stands. GTA Allows you to torture a man with things like water boarding. But someone getting their junk out at a party in a video game is somehow worse? I left wing but even i think the outrage around this game is over the top for what it is. Heck GTA lets you have consensual sex with a prostitute, Then beat her up and kill her and get back the money.

                  yeah I hated that torture scene the game, it was all kinds of stupid because it served no point, it was lazy writing. then there was the fact you couldnt skip it (it actively made you face the screen to complete it) and then worse the very fact even the character himself after it happens makes the extremely valid point: that torture is always worthless. The whole scene was pathetic it was solely designed to upset people, played no valid point in the plot, that couldnt have been done in a smarter more clever way.

                  So dude just because YOU have random chose ONE scene, from random ONE game and presumed you knew what I felt of it, shows you are not as clever as you think you are.

                  As for you bringing up the other thing, you are so despite to prove you point with that game which is hilarious, given how poorly it treats woman all the way through and helps prove my point. There isnt a single good female character in the whole thing and even has a song as using them as a toilet. But hey you bring up the prostitution thing, your selected memory forgot the part where you can 'shop' with any male OR female character in the whole game and kill them directly after your business. So yes its not the nicest thing but you can do the same to any one.

                  Yeah. And my point is you can have a moral standpoint that allows for video game murder but not for video game sex or nudity. You don't have to be "consistent" in morality.. because morality is different for everyone and isn't a sliding scale.

          There are groups of people who get off on raping women and sexually abusing them out there in society.. that doesn't mean its right... This type of game puts the whole gaming industry back years..

            If its a game about consensual sex then your arguing from the point of an old school hyper conservative and you are being silly conflating the two.

            That's awful reasoning. There are people who get off on murdering people but we don't ban violent video games and we certainly don't make pretentious statements about it 'setting the industry back'.

            If you don't like a game, don't buy it. Don't pretend you have any right or higher moral standing to claim nobody else should be allowed to like it either. I think Hatred is garbage but I defend its right to exist and refute any attempt to claim it sets the industry back.

      I suspect they're keeping a hard line on pornographic content due to fear of regulation. Despite how you may feel personally, many politicians still see games as children's' toys.

      So having an adult/sex section would likely lead to a lot of bad press, even though there are already a lot of games that are "adult" due to their violence.

        Fair enough, just thought it was interesting how these games always seem to sell well, yet Valve do not attempt to capitalise on them.

      Also you required a creditcard to purchase anything from steam.. I think in most countries at least you have to be over 18 to legally be able to own a credit card..

      Now assuming a kid could steal his parents creditcard. You could argue that he could just as easily pirate the game off a pirate website if he was going to go through all that trouble.

    It's way too late for quality control in Steam, This is ridiculous.

      My main complaint with steam is how often there are shitty asset flips on the highlight screen.

    Wait this was available on Steam? I guess I couldn't see it amongst all the sex-based visual novels crowding the new releases section...

    This they'll address but they let raging piles of shit and asset flips on Steam without issue?

    Things that are acceptable on Steam: Massive amounts of violence, the ability to run down civilians in the street, zombies, torture scenes, zombies, and so much more... DId I mention zombies?

    Things that are not acceptable on Steam.... Sex and nudity? wtf...

    More dumb moral outrage. The people that actually take the time to complain about 'pornography' need to find a hobby.

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