After causing an uproar earlier this week, Valve is pulling controversial game Rape Day from Steam. The adult-only title is the latest to test Valve's hands-off approach.
Valve Removes 'Rape Day' From Steam
Rape Day, which was originally scheduled for release in April, is a game where players take the role of a sociopath in a zombie apocalypse. Game developer Desk Lamp, also called Desk Plant, describes Rape Day as a visual novel where players can verbally harass, kill, and rape women as they progress in the game.
The game even mentioned a disturbing "baby killing scene" and boasts of more than 500 images and 7,000 titles, which are most likely as repulsive as its title, given all the description and screenshots the developer provided on its Steam page.
After massive outcries and petitions to ban the game, Valve's Erik Johnson released a statement Wednesday, March 6, confirming that Rape Day will not be distributed on Steam.
"After significant fact-finding and discussion, we think 'Rape Day' poses unknown costs and risks and therefore won't be on Steam," Johnson said.
Johnson explained that Steam wants to help developers express themselves, but Desk Lamp's "content matter" and the "way of representing it" are what made it difficult for the platform to help them find an audience.
Valve's Content Policy
Another controversial game that made it to Steam is Active Shooter, which was taken down last year after it received a massive backlash for its school shooting theme.
After Active Shooter, Valve revised its publishing guidelines. It later announced that it would allow anything on Steam as long as it's "not illegal or straight up trolling." It's indeed a pretty vague rule with lots of loopholes, one would say. This is perhaps why games such as Rape Day get listed on Steam in the first place.
It's also worth mentioning that Active Shooter wasn't pulled out from Steam due its school shooting theme but because Valve considered it as "trolling."
Valve's statement on removing Rape Day simply reiterates its hands-off approach on content. It further stressed that its policy must be reactionary, meaning all it can do is wait what will be on their platform, and only then it can decide about any risks a content puts on all parties involved — customers, developers, and Valve itself.