As one Reddit user noticed, there has been a region lock on Steam for a few days that removes all “adult-only”, ie sex games, from the German Steam store. This is a tough step towards censorship and it could have further consequences. Also for popular titles like Cyberpunk 2077.
What happened? Steam offers the right category of games for almost every taste. The “Adults Only” area is more popular than you might think. Now, according to a Reddit user, Steam has banned all erotic titles that are primarily about sex from the German shop. If you want to visit such a game, you will not find any search results at first and will be redirected to the following screen if you use a direct link:
That’s why Steam bans all sex games in Germany
This is the situation: In Germany, pornography or sex games are not prohibited. However, there are laws that stipulate that certain age controls are required. Steam only offers a simple age query in which you enter a date of birth. Even a 12-year-old could indicate that they are 18 or older and thus have access to all adult titles.
This is not strong enough for the German authorities and so Steam is theoretically illegal. But that actually also applies to popular platforms like Twitter or Reddit, on which there is tons of NSFW content and the age control is not strong enough.
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Even in the account options, where you can activate adult and sexual content, sample products are no longer displayed at the push of a button.
So Steam decided: Steam was probably too stupid and instead of introducing a stronger age control, Steam simply bans all adults-only games without age rating in the German store. This is a severe blow to censorship and could have further consequences.
What else could happen due to the censorship?
Germany is one of the strongest gaming markets in Europe. According to statistics from broadbandsearch.net, the gaming market in Germany earned $ 4.430 billion in 2019. Second place in Europe is the UK with $ 4.238 billion. Steam thus cuts off the developers’ most important market in Europe and could ensure that some studios do not achieve their goals.
According to a developer on Reddit, he should remove all erotic content in order to be displayed again in the German Steamstore. Simple censorship, such as black bars or pixels, is not enough.
What does this mean for other games? Not only sex games could be affected by this censorship in the future. Steam offers tons of titles that are only released by the USK (the german rating board for games) from the age of 18 and often use violence and eroticism as a subgenre. A current example of such a game is Cyberpunk 2077, in which you can even adjust your genitals as desired and eroticism plays a bigger role.
Important: Currently, however, the ban only affects titles that have not received USK approval. A few adults-only games such as NekoPara, the Sakura series, or HuniePop are still available in the German shop. Sex games that have already been purchased and are blocked can still be started without any problems.
Whether Steam will decide to ban further titles in the future that are located in the erotic sector or that are clearly 18+ cannot be completely ruled out. However, it remains highly unlikely that this will also include games like Cyberpunk 2077. Steam could also decide to ban those titles in other countries as well. We do not hope so.
What do you think of this region lock or this censorship by Steam? Write your comment below!