In a very broad sense, whether or not an "adult" game is permissible on Steam has historically come down to the age-old question of sex vs. violence: In 2012, Valve pulled Seduce Me from Greenlight over its "offensive" content, but last year allowed the startlingly violent Hatred to stay. And now Manga Gamer says the "yuri" game Kindred Spirits on the Roof will be released, uncut, on Steam.
"We have some exciting news to share tonight," Manga Gamer revealed on its blog. "We’ve been given approval to publish Kindred Spirits on the Roof on Steam without any cuts or censorship!"
This is significant because "yuri," according to Wikipedia, is "a genre involving love between women in manga, anime, and related Japanese media [that] focuses on the sexual or the emotional aspects of the relationship." And that would certainly seem to describe Kindred Spirits, a game about two ghosts on the roof of the Kokonotsuboshi Girls' Academy of Commerce, who died with "unrequited feelings" in their hearts and now wish to experience their "first time" together.
"The two who are bound to the site of the school enlist Yuna to help them create more 'yuri' couples at the school so that they can glean some sexual insight from observing them, and to assist the girls struggling with their hidden feelings," the description on Manga Gamer states.
"This is monumental news for the industry as a whole. Everything will be open and up-front with this release; no off-site patch or workarounds. Kindred Spirits will be sold on Steam completely uncensored," Kouryuu, Manga Gamer's head translator, added. "Seeing frank depictions of same-sex relationships welcomed on such a major gaming platform is a true testament to the open-mindedness of our society and the growing desire for mature entertainment that people of all walks of life can enjoy."
A handful of screens posted on The Otaku's Study—not safe for work, by the way—clearly illustrate that, while Kindred Spirits isn't necessarily full-on hardcore, sex is definitely central to the experience. It's possible that it's less graphic than Seduce Me—which, for the record, is very graphic, although for my dollar not particularly sexy—but it may also indicate that the "guns good/boobs bad" thinking that's guided game ratings for decades is finally starting to change. I've emailed Valve to ask if this does in fact represent a change in Steam policy, and will update if and when we receive a reply.