A Japanese visual novel game titled The Key to Home / いえのかぎ has been removed from steam by valve because according to the review done by them they think that the game’s “core audience is pedophiles.”
The game was originally submitted by the developer of the game Katsudou Mangaya and it was approved by valve and so it got it’s own steam page. the page which has now been removed had trailer, screenshot and the description which might be one of the reasons the game got into trouble. you can read the description and trailer below
“Tens of millions of yen hidden in an Elementary school!? Lies, secrets, and underhanded tactics… Students and teachers struggle against one another. This is a mystery visual novel for every gentlemen and gentlewomen who love little girls!”
Yup that last sentence is probably not the best choice of words and soon Valve sent the devs an email to inquire more about the content of The Key to Home / いえのかぎ and the audience it is aimed at and after reviewing the answer from the devs they decide to not let the game release on steam and said the following “We are not interested in shipping this title on Steam”
Many gamers who were interested in the game questioned and wondered what happened to the game and to address the issue publisher Henteko Doujin made a lengthy post on the steam forum explaining the details about the situation.
It is with a heavy heart that I must inform you all that “The Key to Home”(AppID:710370) has been deleted from the steam store by valve. Here is basically how everything has transpired so far.
Our game, “The Key to Home” was approved by Valve after passing through their game content reviewing process.Then on Dec 1st, we received an E-mail from Valve asking us to explain the game’s plot and to also specify its intended audience. Wanting to respond to them quickly, we hastily summarized the plot in Japanese and explained to them that the target audience is people concerned with the social problem of children and people who like children in general. We also told them our stance that if there were any questions, we would be ready to answer to them.
However, four days later they responded with a very short E-mail stating simply “We are not interested in shipping this title on Steam”. Shortly after receiving this response, “The Key to Home”’s store page was deleted, and the payment we made to SteamDirect was returned.
After sending them numerous E-mails requesting a direct explanation as to why it was deleted, the response we finally got was essentially “(because)we think this novel’s core audience is pedophiles”.
However, since that is the exact opposite message of this game, it is clear that their decision was based on an ill informed and misinterpreted understanding of its content.
Further, he also makes it clear that they are against any kind of crimes against children and The Key to Home / いえのかぎ has no sexually explicit images in the game. the publisher says valve must have misinterpreted their words clarifying that the “gentlemen and gentlewomen who love little girls” is not a sexual statement.
We have continually taken a strong stance AGAINST promoting crimes against children.
This stance of ours may already be obvious to those of you who read these discussion boards, but any users hinting at sexual acts with minors have been swiftly banned and we have also made it very clear to people that this title contains no sexually explicit images whatsoever.
We have continually asked Valve to inform us of any specific issues that they have with us or this title, but as of this moment we have yet to receive any clear response.
The publisher also reveals in the steam forum that the game is already on sale in Japanese stores and has been approved by the responsible authorities as “appropriate for all ages” and till now they haven’t received a single complaint from anyone in Japan.
This isn’t the first time a game has been removed House party was removed after getting removed House party too was removed but removed once the devs censored some violence and sexual content.
But the case of The Key to Home / いえのかぎ is a bit different even if the game does not have sexual content they clearly screwed themselves by a hasty response and probably with bad translations. if valve reconsiders their queries there is a possibility that they may return on steam as they have mentioned in the forum that if any content is deemed unacceptable by valve and other users they are ready to correct them.