July 28, 2017

Steam Video Game Company May Pixelate Nudity, but Keep Rape

Steam has temporarily removed the pornographic, sexually coercive House Party game from its online store until the developer makes undisclosed alterations to the game.

The National Center on Sexual Exploitation spoke out against this game two weeks ago after the popular pornography recovery organization, NoFap, broke the story of how Steam openly advertised this game to users of all ages.

An estimated 35 million children regularly use Steam to buy online games.

Controversy:

“The video game company Steam cannot simply pixelate scenes of rape,” said Dawn Hawkins, Executive Director of the National Center on Sexual Exploitation. “Steam has temporarily removed the House Party game after thousands of concerned individuals contacted company executives to complain about the game’s pornographic and sexually coercive scenes. Apparently, they are requiring the game developer to apply an in-game censor, which traditionally is a mild censor that only pixelates genitals and breasts.”

“At the National Center on Sexual Exploitation, we believe the game’s problems go beyond simple animated pornography to include the actual functionality of the game itself. This game both normalizes and instructs its users as a virtual how-to manual of sex crimes and misogyny,” said Dawn Hawkins.

Earlier this week, the National Center on Sexual Exploitation wrote a letter to Valve Corporation executives asking them to remove this game and institute robust policies to ensure such content no longer appears on Steam.

“We are calling on Valve Corporation and Steam executives to robustly and publicly improve their policy against pornographic content and to create a policy against sexually exploitive content,” Hawkins concluded.

About the Game:

The House Party ‘hook up’ game included disturbing features that allow users to increase their odds of ‘having sex’ with a woman in the game if they manipulated and coerced women into sex through blackmail using nude pictures, increasing women’s alcohol consumption, impersonating their friends through text, and jamming cell phone reception to isolate a woman in a room away from other party goers. Many of these sexually coercive actions would likely amount to rape charges if they occurred in real life.

The sexual encounters are blatant animated pornography, featuring genitalia, ejaculation, and more.

The developer of House Party released a letter defending the game as a ‘parody’ and a ‘joke’ and dismissed concerns about the game being harmful and misogynistic, but this claim falls flat in the face of rampant sexual exploitation on college campuses, in the military, and in our communities. We are experiencing a crisis of sexual exploitation, and games that instruct and reward players for mimicking these real abuses only promote and perpetuate these harms.

No matter the age of the user, House Party perpetuated rape myths, violence against women, revenge pornography, and more.

And that is no laughing matter.

 


ACTION: EMAIL THESE EXECUTIVES

Scott Lynch, Chief Operating Officer: slynch@valvesoftware.com

Florent Schiffer, Community and Localization: florents@valvesoftware.com

Gabe Newell, Managing Director: gabe@valvesoftware.com

Let them know that simply pixelating this game is not enough! Ask them to publicly state its policy against pornographic or sexually exploitive content that normalizes rape or violence against women, and to instill consistent enforcement of these policies. This is a problem that needs a top-down solution so that other games like this one are not sold on Steam.


For screenshots of the proof visit here.

The National Center on Sexual Exploitation calls on Steam and Valve executives to publicly state its policy against pornography or sexually exploitive content, and to instill consistent enforcement of these policies.

National Center on Sexual Exploitation

Founded in 1962, National Center on Sexual Exploitation is the leading national organization opposing pornography by highlighting the links to sex trafficking, violence against women, child abuse, addiction and more. The organization changed its name from Morality In Media to the National Center on Sexual Exploitation early in 2015 to better describe the organization’s scope and mission, which is to expose the seamless connection between all forms of sexual exploitation.

Further Reading

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