LIP! Lewd Idol Project Director Interview; PayPal, and the Future of Adult Games

LIP! Lewd Idol Project Toffer Team Interview PayPal Locked sexual services

Editors Note: Links to and Steam will include content that is not safe for work. This article contains images from LIP! Lewd Idol Project Vol. 1. Reader discretion is advised.

Niche Gamer has interviewed the head of Toffer Team, after they were locked out of their LIP! Lewd Idol Project Kickstarter funds by PayPal for being related to “sexual services.”

As previously reported, developer Toffer Team raised over $35,000 USD for their adult yuri visual novel. While the first volume released, the developer recently announced that PayPal had permanently locked their account- with the remaining Kickstarter funds for the game. PayPal accused Toffer Team that their project of being related to “sexual services.”

After several readers reached out to us and Toffer Team themselves, we interviewed Director and Manager Toffer about the project overall, what happened, and how to stop it happening to others. You can find our full interview below:

LIP! Lewd Idol Project Vol. 1

Niche Gamer: Did you have to take any extra steps being a “mature” project on Kickstarter? Did you ever expect it to reach the funding it did?

Toffer: The project needed to be reviewed by Kickstarter staff before officially launching, just like any other project on the platform. It usually takes a couple of days and they review it in detail, so it was completely okay with them.

Lewd Idol Project was our first crowdfunding campaign ever so we were extra careful in a lot of aspects, but I must say that working with Kickstarter was a super nice experience overall. The process was very smooth and transparent, and they payed us in time and form.

Like I mentioned, it was our first ever crowdfunding campaign, so I’d never have imagined such a great response. We had quite a few titles released under our belt before doing a single crowdfunding, but the overall response to the project was much bigger than I initially thought. We’ve ended up with 369% funding for the project, achieving almost every Stretch Goal, so I couldn’t be more grateful about that.

LIP! Lewd Idol Project Vol. 1

Niche Gamer: Why did you decide to release the game in several separate volumes, rather than one larger release?

Toffer: Well to be honest, it was our first ever Kickstarter campaign, I didn’t want to ask for a super large amount of money for the project. I wasn’t sure if we’re gonna be able to fund the complete project I initially had in mind, so asking about 30k sounded crazy to me.

That’s why we decided to break down the game into three Volumes, each one focusing on the introduction of a new girl, and adding some extra fanservice chapters like Hot Springs and Beach to each one of them as a bonus.

So, if we reached at least the main goal of $9500 for Vol. 1 (which thankfully was already released this past month), that’s completely fine, at least we’d have the funds to start the project and see if our fans liked it enough to continue it. Thankfully, by the end of the campaign, all three Volumes and fanservice chapters were achieved via Stretch Goals.

LIP! Lewd Idol Project Vol. 1

Niche Gamer: How has Steam treated adult game creators in your experience? What attracted you to them over digital stores specializing in adult games?

Toffer: We don’t publish our games only on Steam, in fact, all of our titles including Lewd Idol Project Vol. 1 are also published in adult oriented platforms such as Denpasoft or Nutaku. That said, we never had any major issue with Valve, even when our games don’t require any adult patches and are being sold 100% uncensored right from the start, marked as Adults Only.

Just like Kickstarter did, they obviously review the game before being able to publish it, and we have to wait for their approval. I’ve heard some cases where they denied or pulled out certain adult games for their content, so I believe every case is unique and no one is completely safe, but so far we didn’t have any trouble with any of our titles, it was always a fairly quick and smooth process, considering the amount of games, traffic, and users they have.

LIP! Lewd Idol Project Vol. 1

Niche Gamer: In your own words, what happened on the day you discovered you were locked out of PayPal?

Toffer: Well, I was quite shocked, to say the least. Imagine one day having all your crowdfunded money available for you in order to continue developing your game, and the next, you not only lose access to send or receive any payment (so that means I couldn’t even pay the people I’m working with anymore) but you don’t have any access to your money as well, you can’t send it to another account, you can’t send it to a bank, nothing.

We usually used PayPal since it’s arguably one of the most (if not the most) used and accessible payment method worldwide, and we work with people all around the world for art, music, voice acting, designs, etc, PayPal was always the easiest way since everyone has an account and some countries have a lot of issues when transferring money internationally.

Like I said, my biggest problem wasn’t being kicked out of the platform because we do adult oriented games, the problem is losing access to the Kickstarter funds, the hard earned money that our Backers trusted us with.

After doing some research and reading a lot of similar cases online while getting feedback from people that have been in the same position in the past, I’m really worried about the possibility of not receiving access to our funds anymore.

It seems that most of the times where this happens, being the user a NSFW content creator or not, after six months PayPal ends up taking all your balance with “fees” of some sort, anyone can look it up online, there’s endless cases and people reporting it. But we won’t give up, we’re super passionate about making videogames and this project. So I personally won’t let it end up like this.

LIP! Lewd Idol Project Vol. 1

Niche Gamer: You mentioned to another outlet that PayPal has a 180-holding day period. Does that mean you will be getting the money back after that?

Toffer: According to the automated email they’ve sent to notify me about the lock of our account (haven’t got any other word from them since that), they say they will “hold” the funds up for six months, but on the next line they also detail that my funds may be used to satisfy any obligations you may have, including potential liabilities to third parties and to PayPal.

I’ve been researching many cases similar to this one online, and sadly I must admit that most of the times the account ends up in zero after they charge you with multiple $2500 “fees” after those mentioned six months. Leaving you with no account, and no money to withdraw either, as you can read in their e-mail. Other cases mention the platform will make it almost impossible to withdraw any leftover money (if you’re lucky enough to still have something at the end), even more difficult if you’re outside of the US, like us.

I’ve contacted other users with similar cases and some of them mention losing hundreds of thousands due to those “fees”, so I’m quite frustrated at the fact that PayPal never responds to any of this, they just do it and that’s it. I know this sounds really crazy and scary, but it seems that’s the reality a lot of users (NSFW or not) end up suffering.


Niche Gamer: Do you think any of the game’s content tipped off PayPal, or is this a case of an algorithm making a decision? Why were you in the firing line when others using PayPal for adult content remain unscathed?

Toffer: I’m still not 100% sure about this, but from what I’ve read, I believe our account was specially reviewed by them. We used the platform for many years, we used it for everything related to our games development such as sending payment to our commissioners for art, music, voice acting, etc. and receiving payments from our sales on different platforms. So it could be anything, but we haven’t had any issue like this in the past (4+ years).

Well, we remained unscratched for several years… That’s why I want to raise awareness of this among other adult content creators and use my case as an example that this could happen to anyone, at any time.

Today it was us, but tomorrow could be any other lewd content creator, or even people that use the platform to buy 18+ products online, who knows. I know it may sound scary, but that’s the reality we live in.

LIP! Lewd Idol Project Vol. 1

Niche Gamer: Is there any appeal process you can go through right now? Can those who donated to you through Kickstarter get their money back and to you in any other way?

Toffer: At the moment and in PayPal’s own words, there’s not much we could do or appeal to. I received the notification via email saying that our account was “permanently limited and you won’t be able to conduct any further business using PayPal”, just like that. No previous warnings, no chances to at least withdraw our money at all, nothing. And that’s what makes me sad and disappointed.

Like I said, it’s okay if they want us off the platform, we could always find some alternative one way or another, the problem here is they won’t even give us the chance to send OUR money to any other place before freezing the account.

I’ve been doing a lot of research on similar cases, and I’ve been receiving advice from some of our backers and followers, and I’m super grateful about that. To be honest, that’s what keeps me going, the support of our fans and even people who didn’t even know our games, but contacted me in order to help or give some advice. I just want to say thanks, we won’t stop here, we’ll find a way to keep Lewd Idol Project alive, that’s a fact.

LIP! Lewd Idol Project Vol. 1

Niche Gamer: What do you think adult game makers need right now?

Toffer: Over the past few years, being an adult game maker has been getting more and more difficult.

For example, when I started back in 2017, it was quite usual to see Let’s Plays or reviews of adult oriented games on YouTube, I remember my first game being covered by Lost Pause and getting a lot of attention because of that, it was a win-win situation for both the influencer and the game developer, but now it’s almost impossible to upload any remotely adult content without getting a warning, a strike, or even getting your video removed.

Even some of our game trailers (which showed no nudity at all) were removed without any warning. And there are countless cases like those.

I think we need more support from mainstream platforms overall, including the likes of YouTube or PayPal. I know it sounds impossible but hey, after all, we’re not doing anything illegal, and it’s not fair for adult oriented content creators to live with the fear of losing all your hard earned funds from one day to the other, or even have all the content you worked so hard to make gone in an instant. It’s just not right.

LIP! Lewd Idol Project Vol. 1 is available on Windows PC, Linux, and Mac (all via, and Steam). Demos are available via, and Google Drive.

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Ryan was a former Niche Gamer contributor.

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