Valve removes Rape Day game from Steam in response to outcry

That Rape Day game won't be releasing on Steam after all. Valve issued a statement clarifying their decision to remove the game after previously approving it.

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Steam caught a lot of flak last week when a preview page for Rape Day appeared on its PC digital storefront. The game features graphic scenes and gameplay that are truly disturbing. After much public outcry, Valve has decided to remove Rape Day from Steam.


Here is the full statement from Valve that they recently posted to the official Steam Blog:

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 response from Valve is somewhat troubling in that their policy seems to be a "wait and see" approach to content curation. Instead of looking at the game and objectively determining if it should be on their storefront based on guidelines, it appears that Valve is more concerned about themselves. "After significant fact-finding and discussion, we think 'Rape Day' poses unknown costs and risks and therefore won't be on Steam," said the company in the post. Granted, they do state that they consider the risks to customers, this decision really seems to be more focused on what is in the best interest of Valve. 

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

The company is historically very cagey, and this blog post provides a little bit of insight into the decision making at Steam. It still seems like the company could do a better job of preventing these situations from occurring, but they find themselves in a tough situation as their mission to enable developers to express themselves freely can lead to extremely offensive situations for customers and the broader public. Nothing about today's blog post from Valve really creates any confidence that this situation won't present itself again, and it would be nice to see some effort to evolve their distribution policy to avoid more problems in the future. 

At the end of the day, at least Rape Day has been removed from Steam. Valve has stopped that rape, for now.

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Asif Khan is the CEO and majority shareholder of Shacknews. He began his career in video game journalism as a freelancer in 2001 for Tendobox.com. Asif is a CPA and was formerly an investment adviser representative. After much success in his own personal investments, he retired from his day job in financial services and is currently focused on new private investments. His favorite PC game of all time is Duke Nukem 3D, and he is an unapologetic fan of most things Nintendo. Asif first frequented the Shack when it was sCary's Shugashack to find all things Quake. When he is not immersed in investments or gaming he is a purveyor of fine electronic music. Asif also has an irrational love of Cleveland sports.

From The Chatty
  • reply
    March 6, 2019 1:20 PM

    Asif Khan posted a new article, Valve removes Rape Day game from Steam in response to outcry

    • reply
      March 6, 2019 1:41 PM

      Unsurprisingly, this confirms my belief that the lack of curation and moderation of the Steam store is 0% about freedom and creativity, and 100% about Valve not giving a damn. Like you say in the article, if a game is controversial enough and visible enough to make Valve look bad, they'll remove it. If not, ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

      • reply
        March 6, 2019 1:49 PM

        Valve could just hire interns, like 10 of them, to do the curating and only offer a job to one of them. They're prestigious enough to get enough applicants and even the ones who don't make the cut will be able to out interned at Valve in their resume.

        • reply
          March 6, 2019 4:57 PM

          they 100 interns. not 10. And Valve have enough dollars, money, cash - to pay them...

          • reply
            March 6, 2019 7:11 PM

            But that's money that GabeN could be rolling in, in his giant tub of money...

    • reply
      March 6, 2019 2:02 PM

      It appears, Like me, Valve also doesn't read before posting.

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