Home / Technology / The Super Seducer 3 ban highlights Steam’s fuzzy “adult content” rules

The Super Seducer 3 ban highlights Steam’s fuzzy “adult content” rules

An image from the censored version of <em>Super Seducer 3</em> suggests the kind of “sexually explicit images of real people” that are apparently not allowed on Steam.  “/><figcaption class=
Enlarge / An image from the censored version of Super Seducer 3 suggests the kind of “sexually explicit images of real people” that are apparently not allowed on Steam.

Valve has refused to approve controversial play for pickup artists Super Seducer 3 for sale on Steam. The company says the game breaks a rule and says that Steam does not “send sexually explicit images of real people,” according to messages posted on Twitter by game creator Richard La Ruina.

La Ruina, who describes herself as a “dating guru” and “the world’s best pickup artist,” describes Super Seducer series in press materials such as “a humorous full-motion video (FMV) game in which you learn artistic sexual attraction.” Players do this by choosing your own experience-style conversation instructions interspersed with filmed actors showing the results of these choices. “I did it with the intention of helping men who are generally shy, introverted and afraid to approach women,” La Ruina told The Verge in 2018.

The first game in the series was suspended from Kickstarter and then banned from the PlayStation Store back in 2018, but the game and sequel continue to be available on Steam to this day.

A free demo for the third game in the controversial series was briefly mentioned as part of last month’s edition of the Steam Games Festival, but was reportedly taken from the collection after an hour when Valve decided to give the game further review. “We are not sure if we can send the game at all,” Valve said in an early message in February, shared by La Ruina (Valve did not respond to a request for comment from Ars Technica).

Later in February, La Ruina said he had received “clearer guidelines” from Valve on what changes needed to be made to get Steam approval for Super Seducer 3 and later said he had begun making “targeted cuts” based on that guidance and “legal advice.” But over the weekend, La Ruina said Valve told him they were “in a dead end” and that “we are not going to sell the game or reconsider it … this decision is final.”

La Ruina wrote that the decision applies to both the original version of the game and a “censored” version designed to be suitable for Twitch streaming. He also said that he was pursuing an “M for Mature” assessment from the ESRB, but that Valve indicated that this would have no impact on the decision.

Finding the line

Specific to page, Super Seducer 3The situation highlights the difficulty some Steam game makers have had in finding the line between “appropriate” and “inappropriate” on the platform. While other gaming platforms have detailed (if inconsistently enforced) guidelines for what content is and is not allowed, in 2018 Steam announced a new, more expansive standard for Steam. This standard was centered on the idea that, as Valve put it, “if you’re a developer, we should not choose what content you are allowed to create … we have decided that the right approach is to do everything on the Steam Store, except that things we decide are illegal or straightforward. “

“We are not the taste police,” Valve’s Jan-Peter Ewert told developers at a Russian gaming conference around the time the policy was announced.

A rare safe-for-work screenshot from adult dating sim <em>Taimanin Asagi</em>, which was banned from Steam in 2019. “src =” https://cdn.arstechnica.net/wp-content/uploads/2021/03/ta-300×215.jpg “width =” 300 “height =” 215 “srcset = “https://cdn.arstechnica.net/wp-content/uploads/2021/03/ta-640×458.jpg 2x” /><figcaption class=
Enlarge / A rare safe work image from adult dating sim Taimanin Asagi, which was banned from Steam in 2019.

Since then, Valve has tried to clarify that so-called “magic games” are those that “just try to incite and then disagree.” However, when it comes to adult content that is not trolled, some adult-themed games are banned, while others find a comfortable home on the platform. The specific line between the two types of adult games from Valve’s point of view has never been very clear to developers or players. A visual novel location specialist (who asked to remain anonymous) told Ars in 2019 that “the most important factor seems to be that they ban many games based on the fact that the characters wear school uniforms. There is no other common thread we can find. . ”

In case of Super Seducer 3, Valve seems to cite a recently articulated standard for “not ships.”[ping] sexually explicit images of real people “on top of” illegal “and” straight up trolling “standards from the past. Most of the games listed under Steam’s Sexual Content ‘store page have hand-drawn 2D or computer-tagged images of the scantily clad characters. on the other hand, titles such as “Bad Ass Babes” or “iStripper” containing nude photos of real actors have recently been removed from the Steam Store (although extremely NSFW talk pages still on Steam to celebrate their short availability).

La Ruina previously wrote that he feels Super Seducer 3 differs from the more explicit apps because “any frame from Super Seducer 3 would be Instagram-safe (no nipples, etc.). “He also says he’s ready to make the changes needed in the game to fit Valve’s standards, if Valve could only clearly articulate what they are.

“I do not feel that we are in a dead end,” he wrote in a message to Valve. “I’m ready to take a butcher knife to the game and take weeks to do all sorts of edits.”

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