Devs Can Game Steam's List of 'Popular Upcoming' Titles

'Rape Day' video game won't be available on Steam

Rape Day, the unreleased video game that seemed created to cause controversy, will no longer be distributed on the Steam digital distribution system.

Indie game developer Desk Plant initially said its game Rape Day is aimed at the "four per cent of the general population [who] are sociopaths" and would enjoy playing a "menacing serial killer rapist during a zombie apocalypse".

"We respect developers" desire to express themselves, and the objective 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 hard for us to help them do that'. The game was expected to be released in April, but after Valve's decision, its listing has now been removed from Steam. The game was repeatedly criticized for promoting violence against women and normalizing rape, and a petition calling for the game to be blocked from Steam gained more than 7,000 signatures.

"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", the company said in a blog post.

It isn't entirely clear what a government review might look like since Valve is a privately-owned company based in the United States, but according to Scotsman, culture secretary Jeremy Wright has agreed to investigate how the game was allowed to be developed and set for release. The adult visual novel would allow players to "verbally harass, kill, and rape women as you choose to progress the story".

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Valve was in a tricky spot from the get-go with Rape Day, as it had announced just nine months prior that it would "allow everything" on its storefront.

"The content of this game is utterly perverted", she said in a statement.

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. Given our previous communication around Who Gets To Be On The Steam Store? That makes getting featured on a platform like Steam important, and it turns out there's an easy way for developers to cheat the system so their games appear on Steam's "Popular Upcoming" list. Users were not able to pre-purchase the game, but they could add it to the wishlist while Steam completed their content review.

Rape Day's Steam page before its removal featured some disturbing, graphic images.

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

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