Steam users in Germany have discovered that Steam have blocked all adult only games in the region, most likely due to German laws.
Users across Reddit and Twitter [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8] from December 22nd onwards stated that adult only games had been blocked for those in Germany. Users found games removed from their wishlist, and received no notification from Valve. Users are also unable to enable the Adult Only Sexual Content option, despite still being able to see it.
The reason is due to German pornography laws, and that Steam’s age verification is not sufficient enough to prevent underage users from accessing the content. On Steam, a user only needs to enter their date of birth, with no form of ID or other check.
Users were quick to point out the inconsistent enforcement of the rule with other websites. Reddit and Twitter themselves both feature simple age verification like Steam, and can feature adult only content. Neither website are banned in Germany.
Further, several games rated as USK18+ in Germany are also restricted from sale to children. Users pointed out that if adult only games had been blocked for all Steam users in Germany, then non-pornographic but USK18+ titles should (or could) be banned as well.
Previously, Steam had edged away from adult only content- with one developer in October 2017 confirming they were no longer allowed to post any information regarding uncensoring patches on Steam. In May, many adult game developers received messages from Steam, stating they needed to remove adult only content from their games or have them removed.
The day after Valve explained this was an error– as all adult only games were being re-reviewed. In June Valve stated that it would “allow everything” on Steam other than “trolling” or illegal content. The new adult filter system would later be implemented, but there have been cases of issues.
While the first totally uncensored adult only game did come to Steam in September 2018, others have not been so lucky. Visual novel Hello Good-Bye was banned even after patching the game appropriate for all ages. “HunieDev” also confirmed that HuniePop2 would be censored on Steam, while heavily hinting at an uncensoring patch being available.
The Taimanin Asagi series was set to become available on Steam in August 2019, with the first episode being free. A few weeks later the game was removed from Steam, due to accusations that the game’s characters were underage. Some believed this was caused by some characters wearing a school uniform. It would later return as Taimanin Asagi 1: Trial, devoid of any sexual content.
Visual novel Bokuten – Why I Became an Angel was also removed in late July of this year, despite it being an all ages version. The publisher later stated the game was removed for “false, invalid reasons.” After an investigation by both parties, a valid issue was discovered, removed, and returned to Steam.