Valve now allows games with “adult only sexual content” on the Steam store. Steam hides these games by default, and they won’t appear in search. But you can enable these “adult only” games in your Steam account preferences if you like.

Yes, Steam Now Allows Adult-Only Sexual Content

Steam has always allowed some types of sexual content. Popular games like The Witcher 3 feature nudity and occasional sex scenes, just like an R rated movie.

Valve traditionally did not allow “pornographic” games. Valve was recently threatening to remove games that it considered pornographic. After some discussion, Valve decided it didn’t want to be the judge of what is and isn’t pornography, or what the Steam store should and shouldn’t sell.

Valve’s Erik Johnson outlined the new policy in a blog post on June 6, 2018:

Valve shouldn’t be the ones deciding this. If you’re a player, we shouldn’t be choosing for you what content you can or can’t buy. If you’re a developer, we shouldn’t be choosing what content you’re allowed to create. Those choices should be yours to make…

With that principle in mind, we’ve decided that the right approach is to allow everything onto the Steam Store, except for things that we decide are illegal, or straight up trolling. Taking this approach allows us to focus less on trying to police what should be on Steam, and more on building those tools to give people control over what kinds of content they see.

In other words, Steam now allows games with adult-only sexual content that would previously be considered pornography. Only games that are illegal or “trolling” are banned.

However, Steam hides these types of games by default, and they won’t appear in the Steam store, even if you search for their precise name. Instead, you’ll see a message saying some titles “have been excluded based on your preferences.”

You will still see these games if you follow a link directly to their product pages from another website, however, no matter what your Steam preferences are. You’ll have to click through a content warning first.

How to Show (or Hide) Adult Only Games

To find this option, click your name at the top right corner of the Steam client and then select “Store Preferences.”

You can also head straight to Steam’s account preferences page in your web browser.

Under Mature Content, check the “Adult Only Sexual Content” box to view these types of games. Your change takes effect immediately. Return here and uncheck the option if you don’t want to see these types of games anymore.

You can click “View Example Products” to see examples of games with adult-only sexual content on the Steam Store. These games will now appear in your searches and recommendations.

The Store Preferences page also lets you customize your other Steam store preferences. For example, you could hide games with nudity, gore, or other mature content. You can also hide different types of content you don’t want to see, including software, movies, virtual reality games, and Early Access products.

Steam also lets you filter up to ten tags, so you could filter the “anime” tag and never see another anime-style game again.

Steam still allows you to enable parental controls, too. You can block access to the store entirely or even only allow access to specific games in your library with Family View.

Image Credit: Casimiro PT/Shutterstock.com.

Chris Hoffman Chris Hoffman
Chris Hoffman is Editor in Chief of How-To Geek. He's written about technology for nearly a decade and was a PCWorld columnist for two years. Chris has written for The New York Times, been interviewed as a technology expert on TV stations like Miami's NBC 6, and had his work covered by news outlets like the BBC. Since 2011, Chris has written over 2,000 articles that have been read more than 500 million times---and that's just here at How-To Geek.
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