Dharker Studios feared that Valve would ban My Senpai from Steam, so they decided to completely rewrite the game in hopes of avoiding the banhammer on Steam. Their fears were not unfounded. Their other game, My Girlfriend, ended up getting the axe because it took place in a college setting, even though it wasn’t the R18+ version of the game.
On March 13th, 2019 Valve banned My Girlfriend from Steam. If you attempt to visit the Steam store page it will redirect you back to the main Steam store page. If you visit the SteamDB entry it reveals that the game has been removed from Steam.
In a forum thread, Dharker Studio explained why the game was banned, writing in the forums…
“Hi, Steam have confirmed now it is the setting, sadly they took the radical decision to ban the game outright, this is the part I am sad about, as a rewrite of this game is possible, changing the setting would not ruin the game or indeed require to much work, it could probably completed by the end of March completely removing the inappropriate setting that could be perceived as depict minors.
“Anyway I accept their decision and have asked if the app can be unbanned if we replace the inappropriate content. But I fear they will advise I should create a new game app. Assuming they do I will post here when the new app is online for people to look forward to playing.
“It is a lesson learned and I will probably not make any school/college games any more just to make sure that this does not happen again, at least not for steam. “
This comes after the game was delayed multiple times due to Valve postponing the release via an extended review.
Originally the game was supposed to be out on February 28th, 2019 but the game kept getting delayed.
It eventually resulted in the ban on March 13th, 2019, despite not being the R18+ version of the game.
However, the game is still an ecchi title, which contains sexually suggestive material and imagery, and Valve has taken a stringent stance against these games if they aren’t yaoi or gay furry titles, as evident with the fact that hardcore yaoi games like Sweet Pool were allowed on Steam even though it takes place in a school, or Dirty Education being allowed on the platform even though it, too, also takes place in a school.
What’s interesting is that while My Girlfriend was not the R18+ version of the game, Dirty Education was the R18+ version and was completely uncensored, and it was set within a school, yet it was still allowed on Steam with no problems. The double standards are very clear.
We’ve seen that Valve has basically changed their rules on allowing anything on the platform that wasn’t “straight-up trolling” or “illegal”. They informed developers that they will now ban games that their own individual staff feel falls within a “legally grey” area.
Basically this “legally grey” area is completely arbitrary and basically any anime game or visual novel from an indie studio that isn’t themed around yaoi or male homosexuality will likely get postponed or banned even if it doesn’t take place in a school, or even if the characters are explicitly mentioned to be over the age of 18, or even if there is no sex in the game, like Victory Project.
Some Asian developers have outright said that Valve is now being discriminatory against certain developers and games. However, Valve has not opted to publicly address these claims of discrimination. They have, however, continued to ban or postpone the release of certain games.
My Girlfriend now joins other games on the ever-growing list of banned games that Valve have removed from Steam for spurious reasons even after they said that they wouldn’t be the “taste police”.
(Thanks for the news tip StarKitsune)