Valve has acknowledged that they are the taste police. They pretty much lied to the audience last year when they claimed that they wouldn’t be the “taste police” once their new adult filters were put into place. On March 6th, 2019 Valve made a post over on the Steam community thread, announcing that they were banning Rape Day from the service.
The reason for the ban is that they felt it was a risk to Valve’s reputation, writing…
“Over the past week you may have heard about a game called ‘Rape Day’ coming soon to Steam. Today we’ve decided not to distribute this game on Steam. Given our previous communication around Who Gets To Be On The Steam Store?, we think this decision warrants further explanation.
“Much of our policy around what we distribute is, and must be, reactionary—we simply have to wait and see what comes to us via Steam Direct. We then have to make a judgement call about any risk it puts to Valve, our developer partners, or our customers. After significant fact-finding and discussion, we think ‘Rape Day’ poses unknown costs and risks and therefore won’t be on Steam.
“We respect developers’ desire to express themselves, and the purpose of Steam is to help developers find an audience, but this developer has chosen content matter and a way of representing it that makes it very difficult for us to help them do that.”
This came after politicians and the media railed on Valve for even hosting Rape Day on the digital distribution service. There were calls for regulation and bans, and Valve decided to fold to the media and political pressure. This is despite the fact that the game didn’t violate either of Valve’s standards for removal, which is that if a game is “trolling” or “illegal” it will be banned.
Most people were curious how Valve was going to handle Rape Day, since the game was themed around a criminal named “Boss” who goes on a raping and killing spree during a zombie apocalypse, using the chaos of the world ending as an excuse to indulge his most depraved desires.
Valve has been banning a number of other games for far less serious issues, mostly those coming out of China and Japan. Some of the games that were banned, like Victory Project, didn’t even have any sexual content in them.
However, Valve has showed that with enough political and media pressure, any game can get banned from the service.
(Thanks for the news tip Starkitsune)