The end of adult games?

Lately, I have noticed some signs of a potential crackdown on adult games in various online stores. The most recent example is itchio de-listing from search results adult games (or even developers) from their platform. As far as I understand, this means that you can still sell through itchio, but customers can only access your games from external sources (like your own website).

update: Speaking with some devs, seems like itchio delisted adult games from collections when their devs set to 0% the itchio’s cut, which is really understandable. Also, shame on those devs! Itchio desevers some money for their good service!

This is just the tip of the iceberg. In the last few months I’ve heard a lot of stories:

  • the company porting my VN to consoles explicitly said that they don’t allow adult stuff anymore, but not just that. Even small nudity is not allowed, or (depending on the platform) even underwear or revealing outfits…!
  • I know at least three devs (won’t name them but maybe you know them already since are mutual followers on Twitter) who had their games outright REJECTED by Steam. Not even launching! For different reasons, but all tied to the adult content present in them
  • payment processors like Paypal or Stripe never liked adult stuff even before, but seems like they’re becoming even more strict. As you can imagine this has a big impact on selling online

You probably get the idea. Those who have been following me for a long time, since my first VN Heileen in 2008, know very well that adult stuff is not my main focus. I added it to my games in the last few years because many fans requested it, and because realistically games with adult content sell better.

The picture above is from Loren – my first game to have actual nudity. This is the “censored” version of Chambara’s romance scene. Even fully dressed I don’t think the scene loses appeal..

But I always made it optional in my games. I always offered a “clean” or better “mild / non explicit” version of my games, because I know that not everyone enjoys that kind of content.

To be fair, with the exception of a few games (At Your Feet, TFTU series, The Beastmaster Princess) my games never had very explicit stuff going on. But you know how it is, it’s easy to generalize and then someone just having sexy outfits and some tasteful erotica scenes is compared to people doing extreme porn stuff, even if it’s like comparing apple with oranges…

Personally, if I’ll be forced to stop doing adult games, it won’t affect me much because even in my most silly games like At Your Feet, I always put a lot of emphasis on story, character growth, intriguing themes. The sexual element was just an extra thing, not the main point of the story, or at least it could be completely cut out and the games wouldn’t lose all their charm.

I think for now I’m going to leave the already released games as they are and wait to see how things unfold. But for future games I believe I’ll have to say goodbye to erotic stuff. There will be sexy outfits and romance, flirting and sexual jokes (I hope our supreme rulers will still allow us to do that!!!) but I’ll steer clear of anything too risky.

Because in case you don’t remember, just 4-5 years ago Google decided to ban my entire developer account on Android, making me lose a small but decent income stream, because of this very reason. Of course I’m sorry for people who like that kind of content, but if the same thing happened again with itchio or Steam, it would be the end for me.

I am not sure how developers doing full porn stuff can keep doing it, seems so risky right now!

14 thoughts on “The end of adult games?

  1. Arcmyst

    As long as Huniepop is being carried by GOG and Steam I’d like to think you have nothing to worry about.

    1. admin Post author

      Well yes, the thing is that they changed their parameters for NEW games. Even my own Cursed Lands has no adult patch and full nudity. Yet Curse Of Mantras has a censored version with NO NUDITY at all, and was pushed in adult only!
      Seems random, and this randomness of course is not really good when you need to run a business 😛

  2. Missy

    I really hope all the pearl clutching eventually dies again. And using “won’t someone think of the children!” to kill things they don’t like for everyone. Like books. First it was we need to ban them from school libraries. Then they moved to public libraries and in some cases book stores both physical AND online. And of course who gets to decide what is and isn’t ok is them. They will decide for absolutely everyone what media you can and cannot have access to regardless of age.

    1. admin Post author

      Agree, especially when in other media like movies or tv series there’s way worse stuff than in most games (both in sexual or gore level).

  3. Kaede

    “I am not sure how developers doing full porn stuff can keep doing it”.
    Some of them use Patreon.

    1. admin Post author

      Yes, I am on Patreon as well but sadly for me isn’t really working well. I couldn’t rely only on Patreon’s money to survive at all.

      1. Kaede

        Maybe you shall give access to early work in progress builds of your games on Patreon.
        Pretty sure people would subscribe to have access to work in progress versions of Tales Of Aravorn: An Elven Marriage for exemple (if so please add Mac and Apk versions of the game!).

        1. admin Post author

          Well that game is pretty “safe” anyway, I don’t think should be an issue. I can’t build mac or apk, I don’t own a mac anymore and last time I tried to build for android mysteriously failed for some java reason. I don’t have much free time now so sadly I need to build only for platforms that works without problems…

  4. Cay Reet

    As I live in Germany and Steam has cut out a lot of ‘adult’ stuff for me already – due to the stupidity of my government, nobody would expect for an international platform to bend backwards to accommodate the wishes of a single government – I do very much rely on for a lot of developers who do more ‘risque’ or ‘adult’ content.

    It’s really annoying to me, I’m almost 50 and I’m not even looking for explicit or all-out pornographic stuff. I just want more than the fluffy dating sim with the same story in 100 variants every time. That’s why I like your games so much – each is different, yet each is fun. Not to mention the gorgeous graphics.

    1. admin Post author

      Thank you for your nice words!
      As far as I know beside Germany even in USA there are many anti-pornography movements. However, I just realized another thing – Steam is a private business, not a LTD. So there aren’t the investors who can push the platform towards a certain direction. If anything happens, would need to come directly from the US government, and I like to think that is something at least unlikely…!

  5. blitzen

    It’s funny, I’m in the middle of a discussion on another board regarding unnecessarily “sexy” art and misogynist content in games–but I never once thought about that applying to your games. I think the difference is that you write your characters respectfully, the sexy interactions are chosen, not forced on you, and there are long buildups to the relationships that the player can opt out of if they aren’t interested in that. I play your games because I like the writing and the characters you come up with. The adult content is fun, but I’m sure I will enjoy the games just as much if everyone keeps their clothes on.

    (One of the most popular games ever is Witcher III where you can pick up prostitutes and see a very graphic cutscene, so I don’t know why they would be cracking down on the little bit of nudity someone like you has in their games. Go figure.)

    1. admin Post author

      Thanks for your nice words. Indeed when I work on my games the adult part is something I add later, and not the main focus of the stories.
      As for Witcher 3 or even other AAA games, of course the laws don’t apply to successful or big companies… /sadface


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