Skip to main content

Domina has been delisted from Steam after yet another transphobic diatribe

A screenshot of Domina showing a man splattered on an arena floor
(Image credit: Dolphin Barn)
Audio player loading…

Domina has been delisted from Steam after its developer—Dolphin Barn Incorporated—once again used the game's patch notes as a political soapbox, this time to post a transphobic screed (opens in new tab). Visitors to Domina's Steam page will find a notice stating, "At the request of the publisher, Domina is no longer available for sale on Steam" in place of the usual option to purchase the game.

Judging by SteamDB records (opens in new tab), Domina was removed from sale about 12 hours ago, seemingly in response to the game's 1.3.25 patch notes titled, "We're Out of Ideas, Mentally Unstable, Totally Degenerate, & Desperate for Clout - Lets Pretend We're A Completely Different Game to Regain Relevance!" The notes are, in essence, an extended joke about deadnaming: the transphobic act of referring to a trans person who has changed their name by the name they were assigned at birth.

It seems that this was the final straw for Valve, which had already banned Domina's dev (opens in new tab) from the game's Steam forums once before. In a post on Gab, a Twitter alternative popular with neo-Nazis, QAnon conspiracy theorists (opens in new tab), and other members of the far-right, Domina's creator posted a screenshot which appeared to show a message from Valve terminating its relationship with the game and its developer.

Valve's message read, "A recent announcement posted to the Domina community hub includes insults targeting another person," referring to allegations and insults the dev made toward Keffals, a trans Twitch streamer who is currently in hiding from a harassment campaign which recently had her swatted (opens in new tab). The message stated that Valve had previously made it clear to the developer that future rule violations would "jeopardize [the] future relationship" between Dolphin Barn and Valve. With that in mind, Valve concluded that it would be "ending [its] business relationship with 'Dolphin Barn Incorporated' and removing all associated products from sale".

I've reached out to Valve for comment and will update if I hear back.

In the post accompanying the screenshot, Domina's creator denounced the game's delisting using a homophobic slur, and accused Valve of placing him in poverty immediately before saying Domina brought Valve founder Gabe Newell "millions in revenue". The dev has not said if he has any further plans for the game; later posts on his Gab are dedicated to attacking Valve and non-binary journalist and streamer James Stephanie Sterling, who recently made a video about this whole situation (opens in new tab).

Ideally, this would be the end to this too-long and sorry saga. Domina was once a fairly well-regarded game with a decent user review score, but ever since its creator began using its patch notes as a platform to rant against "weak men," (opens in new tab) masturbation, and later masks (opens in new tab) and trans people, its fall into ignominy has been swift. It feels unlikely that this is the last we'll hear of Domina's developer, though, he appears to have too much of a taste for the spotlight.

News Writer

One of Josh's first memories is of playing Quake 2 on the family computer when he was far too young to be doing that, and he's been irreparably game-brained ever since. Since then, his writing has been featured in Vice, Fanbyte, and the Financial Times. He'll play pretty much anything, and has written far too much on everything from visual novels to Assassin's Creed. His most profound loves are for CRPGs, immersive sims, and any game whose ambition outstrips its budget. He thinks you're all far too mean about Deus Ex: Invisible War.