As we reported back in 2020, adult games are no longer available for players in Germany. However, some loopholes remained in the system. Some of these methods were questionable, like faking a USK certification, but gifting and buying license keys on third-party sites seemed like a legit way to get adult content as a German player on Steam.
Last week, German Steam users started reporting that third-party keys for lewd games could no longer be activated. A lengthy thread (in German) on the Steam community forums and a recent tweet by Panda Penguin Games (developers of Midnight Ride) seems to confirm this. The trouble is that Valve hasn’t communicated any changes to their policies beforehand, which makes the transition a little abrupt, to say the least.
Panda Penguin Games and several other developers relied on itch.io and other third-party Steam key sellers (like Kinguin) to cater to their German audiences. It’s unclear whether gifting adult games to players in Germany is still possible, but of course, that method isn’t a viable business strategy for developers.
It seems that with the recent changes to Steam’s platform and the apparent unwillingness of Valve to comply with Germany’s age verification laws for adult content, the German market is now completely unavailable for adult game developers.