Valve removes game from Steam because “core audience is paedophiles”

Valve removes game from Steam because “core audience is paedophiles”

The Japanese game/novel The Key to Home has been removed from the Steam store because Valve says its “core audience is paedophiles”.

The Key to Home was described as a mystery visual novel but the subject matter appears to have struck a nerve with Valve who apparently responded to the developer on 1 December with a note to say “We are not interested in shipping this title on Steam”. The original description of the game on Steam read:

“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!”

Perhaps the last bit of that sentence was not the best choice of words because Valve decided to remove the game’s store page from Steam shortly after sending the letter out on 1 December.  When queried about the store removal Valve apparently simply added, “we think this novel’s core audience is paedophiles”.

The developers have issued a statement to clarify their goals with Key to Home and address the removal.

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.

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.

While it does have eye catching visuals, “The Key to Home” is a game that offers much more than meets the eye. This is a novel game that aims to raise social awareness of child and school related social issues through a story about four troubled heroines who, under unexpected circumstances, join forces with a young hapless teacher to fight against the evil forces that mean to exploit children.

There are no direct sexual expressions in this game whatsoever.

We make no hesitation in declaring that this game is meant not to make a negative impact on the world, but rather to make a positive impact on it by providing its players with new ideas and perspectives.

Also, this title is already on sale in Japanese stores after having been approved as “appropriate for all ages” and even has a physical disc version that has been available for several months now

Many people have already played this game and as of this moment, there hasn’t been a single complaint from any one saying that this game is aimed at pedophiles.

We are ready to answer and respond to any and all question related to this title. Also, if any areas are deemed to contain unacceptable content we are prepared to deal with them.

Valve has not yet responded to any of the inquiries we have made over these last few days.

However, we still firmly believe that valve is a company that respects the right to freedom of speech and that they will allow us to reach a conclusion through fair discussion.

The game’s art style is what you expect to see in a lot of Japanese games which doesn’t always fit well with Western tastes. There’s no doubt that some Japanese games and art push the limits of what would be considered acceptable but the developer, in this case, is adamant that they are not pushing a game that may attract unsavoury types.

Its unlikely Valve will change their mind on the listing so, for now, the game is gone. The original The Key to Home Steam listing can be seen in the web archive.

Paul Younger

Founder and Editor of PC Invasion. Veteran PC gamer of over 22 years.

  • mwyeoh

    That’s Steam and America for you… very hypocritical standards

    • Commissar7

      Just checked the steam page, despite the “for every gentlemen and gentlewomen who love little girls!” already mentioned, the main character is described as having “a severe case of Lolita complex and has even gone as far as to set up hidden cameras in the school bathrooms”.
      The screenshots show of course the mandatory panties shot.
      Do you need more hints?

      • Jon Jones.

        And a child sat on the toilet. Very, very wrong.

  • Adept

    This is going to keep happening. If I remember it correctly, the age of consent in Japan is 13, with no restrictions. It has lead to (or is the result of) sexualisation of young teenage girls and widespread teen prostitution. It’s probably tied to the deeply unequal power dynamics in the culture in general.

    • Tamaki Tweets

      Every prefecture in Japan has independently passed local laws raising age of consent to 18.

    • @NakkiNyan

      It is way more complex than that. Also, ignoring prefectural laws, if a 13 year old dates a 14 year old boy he could be in trouble, normally just school. If sex was involved, he could be looking at jail. If it is a 14+ year old girl and a 13 or below boy, she will see almost no punishment, basically their laws specifically target this. They also have weird obscenity laws which could let them go after whoever they want so if they think someone is too young or incapable of understanding what they did, they can go after them, hard.

      The age thing also has to do with an other event where they wanted to increase from 13 to 15 it but if they did then a 14 year old kid could be let off despite decapitating 2 kids.

  • Chili

    I really wish Valve would stop attempting to curate it’s store. Just let customers figure out what they do and don’t want to buy.

    • User

      Typically I’d agree, but this is filthy and gross. I don’t even want to chance normalising it. It’s more than just some weeb sim… it’s about underage or highly suggested to be girls.

      • Brittany

        I don’t think it is about normalizing it. I mean, I have no desire to rape anyone, yet I have played a yaoi game which allows you to rape boys in prison. And yeah, under 18 boys.

      • Anne Rogers

        So what else are you against ‘normalizing’? Mass murder? Because that happens in plenty of Steam games.

        • User

          Generally anything involving children is something that doesn’t sit well with me.

  • Superkooter

    Not to worry after trans-genderism is normalized i’m sure Pedophilia will be next.