Valve Pulls 'Rape Day' From Steam

Sheri Evans
March 9, 2019

It's unclear what any of that means, or how hard-nosed fact-finding resulted in "unknown costs and risks". If a game has generated sufficient controversy as to make it seem unpalatable to Valve, they can just pull it from sale.

A computer game in which players rape and kill women has been pulled from a popular digital game store following a major outcry.

In the past, Steam has been vocal about its desire to protect the free speech interests of the developers who release their games on the platform. This statement blocks this particular game but does not offer clarity on what similar types of content would not be allowed in the future.

While no one is disputing that the contents of this game is inherently disturbing, quite a valid counterpoint was posted by the games developer, Desk Plant. During this time Steam users could see the game, along with updates from its creator.

"Rape Day" has sparked widespread outrage on social media and thousands of people signed petitions to ban the game.

In Steam's statement announcing that "Rape Day" would not be released on its platform, the company did not specifically condemn the depiction of sexual violence but said the content of "Rape Day" presents "unknown costs and risks".

Johnson went on to say that Valve wants to help facilitate developers expressing themselves and finding an audience, but "this developer has chosen content matter and a way of representing it that makes it very hard for us to help them do that".

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While blocking the Steam release of "Rape Day" was a goal for the critics of the game, Steam's response does little to address the concerns raised by the situation.

The Popular Upcoming list on Steam is meant to give studios a way to advertise their title in the weeks before its release, utilising the vast reach of Valve's platform.

If the content of "Rape Day" was always too problematic for Steam, how did the game earn a listing in the first place? You can read it in full below.

Desk Plant said it followed Steam's policies and disclosed the graphic nature of "Rape Day" to the platform operators.

The game was scheduled for release on the Steam Direct distribution channel in April. Johnson brought up the company's stance outlined in "Who Gets To Be On The Steam Store?".

It's unlikely that UK Parliament would be able to place any direct restrictions on Valve - it is after all a privately-owned United States company - but Steam could be made subject to new restrictions on what sort of content it's legally able to sell in the UK.

Steam shared its decision on Rape Day in a blog post Wednesday, saying the move comes "after significant fact-finding and discussion".

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