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!