German Steam users seem to have lost access to Steam’s catalogue of pornographic games overnight. Several reports of players on Reddit and elsewhere suggest a blanket ban on adult content for German users.
The censorship situation isn’t new as German laws on pornography and age verification have existed for up to five years. German law dictates strict age checking which Valve is unable or unwilling to provide through their marketplace. Individual pornographic games on Steam have been banned in Germany before, but this situation now seems to affect all adult games.
Steam hasn’t communicated the specifics about the recent changes to developers yet. Support requests by individual developers regarding the sale of their games in German received the same reply from the Steam Helpdesk. They either advise to apply for certification at the German USK rating board (though there’s a slim chance to get classified as something other than pornography) or create a censored game with the lewd content available as DLC for non-German players. It’s also unclear if third-party websites selling Steam keys are affected by the ban.
The reasons for this sudden ban remain unclear, but the recent crackdown on Pornhub following abuse allegations might have inspired the industry giant to play it safe in certain markets. Pornographic games remain on sale for German players on marketplaces such as itch.io and GameJolt, as well as subscription platforms like Patreon and SubscribeStar Adult.