Should Kickstarter Allow Explicit Videogame Content?

Our weekly dose of hot takes, occasionally well formed opinions, and fevered outbursts is back; yup, it’s the Question of the Week!  This week it’s all about porn.  Porn, that thing that makes the internet go round.  Ok, more specifically, the sketchy standing of explicit videogame content on Kickstarter.

What’s your opinion on Kickstarter not allowing adult videogame content?


lagunaLaguna Levine

Let me be up front: I admittedly watch adult content, even with my partner (and a past one), and I’d prefer to keep games and at least the sexual part of “adultness” separate. It’s way too distracting. It’s bad enough the genre, being visual, lends itself well to porn, but the interactivity/simulation aspect can get borderline creepy.

That isn’t to say games and violence mix well. They don’t. Games can teach. They can teach violence, but also morality. You can’t have it both ways. The problem, however, is that the violence aspect comes out when you don’t have a system in place to correct it, like in Undertale. We have enough bad content out there without trying to make it “adults only.” I’ve yet to experience something focused solely on content restricted to adults that enriched my life in any long term meaningful way, and there’s already far more of it available than there needs to be without normal people having to support its development. There’s a reason most of us have forgotten the name of the only Steam AO rated game about a year after it was released.

undertale_powerduo


serenaSerena Nelson

When it comes to allowing or not allowing adult content I feel that it’s generally up to the platform being used to either crowdfund or host a game with 18+ content or not. That said, it can also stifle creativity if a site like Kickstarter says no to such content; it has let some titles with more risqué and mature content through so it’s hard to gauge exactly what they consider too much in the way of adult titles.

I feel that as long as the project creator announces up front that their title isn’t appropriate for younger audiences they should still allow it. Games like Coming Out on Top and HuniePop, which were both very much adult in content (Hentai or at least borderline Hentai), were funded without any problem and plenty of other games have released an 18+ patch for their games should someone want to have a bit more mature experience.

huniepoplogo2

Despite Kickstarter having essentially a “no adult content” policy they aren’t very consistent with it. While they should allow anyone with a valid idea that’s not an obvious scam or joke campaign, I do understand where they’re coming from. Still, maybe having an “adults only” section or something could go a long way to allowing this sort of content. And, even though Kickstarter has this policy other crowdfunding sites don’t. For instance, Indiegogo has no such policy that I’m aware of so they can get away with more mature games.

That said, it’s really up to the owners of the site if they want to allow adult content or not. I’d love to see more openness and willingness to allow it via Kickstarter but at the end of the day it’s their decision..


marcusMarcus Estrada

Kickstarter has every legal right to control what is and isn’t allowed onto their platform. If enough people have a problem with these rules, we will see new platforms created to take care of needs not met by Kickstarter (which we do see with sites such as Patreon). From my perspective, however, it seems like a silly distinction to block adult video game content. After all, in the past we have seen multiple games (as well as non-game media) on Kickstarter which does veer straight into the adult realm without issue before.

It’s not just an issue with Kickstarter but actually a larger problem in our society where sexuality and sex is viewed as something practically harmful to see depicted in media. The great irony is that incredibly violent games are allowed to flourish despite that potentially being something we shouldn’t adore as much as we do. I wish Kickstarter were more open about sexual content in games, but until society changes they aren’t likely to change their perspective much at all.


JoshyGJosh Griffiths

I have no opinion on the subject whatsoever, but being a millennial, I can’t help but tell people what I think anyway.

It is kind of silly that Kickstarter doesn’t allow any kind of pornographic content on the site. It’s always incredible to see a website, developer, publisher, movie studio or what have you be okay with extreme violence but they only worry about The Children when nudity or sex comes into play.

It’s understandable if Kickstarter doesn’t want to open that can of worms, deciding what is and isn’t porn, but would it really matter? Lock the content behind an age barrier, put it in its own semi-secret section, don’t allow nudity to be shown in the campaigns themselves, there are ways around now letting little Billy or Sarah see nekked people.

Some game developers have done a good job getting away with this. There are visual novels aplenty all about sexing people up, but the campaigns play up the story and art aspects of the games. There have been at least a couple of nude calendars on Kickstarter too. Looking at it that way, I’m not sure it’s true Kickstarter has an umbrella ban on “adult content” like they claim. Unless your Kickstarter is straight porn, they don’t seem to mind.

Should Kickstarter allow porn? I don’t know, something tells me people won’t bother with the gluttony of free stuff that’s already out there. I mean, look at all these pictures of David Hayter.. 


joannaJoanna Mueller

It’s funny because my knee-jerk reaction to the idea of censorship is to always vehemently oppose these types of restrictions. I’m a grown-up dammit, I should get to decide what is appropriate for me.

Getting that out of the way, I’m not sure that Kickstarter’s ban on adult content in games is really all that much of a hindrance. I’ve seen plenty of Visual Novels that wonderfully took on more adult content. Many times having to make this content more subtle can even make the finished product have a stronger impact. It can mean the difference between just relying on sex or gore to sell a scene as opposed to creating an emotional connection for the player.

That said, those looking to fund their adult content have other, perhaps less well-known, crowdfunding options. In the end, I can’t fault Kickstarter for wanting to keep their noses out of the adult content as much as possible, but I applaud those who find ways around the restrictions..


conrad2Conrad Crisman

Honestly, I feel that even “adult” video games deserve the chance to pander to and potentially reach their target audience. An overarching and often unnecessary policy of pandering to absolutely every demographic is a tired trait of modern society that has gone way too far.

Simply put, some games are created from the ground up that are meant to target a specific type of gamer. I don’t feel that censorship is the answer, and barring an unlimited bank account and the ongoing censorship of AO-rated titles by AAA studios and retail stores alike, what other routes can these developers take?

I say, Kickstarter should create a section for their site specifically for campaigns that possess adult content, thus allowing the developers to create the games that their audience is looking for and leaving the issue of parenting to parents. If they don’t play by the rules, shut it down, but why even shoot them out of the saddle before they even get the chance to leave the stable?

And as for us adults who don’t want to indulge or even see mature content on Kickstarter, all we have to do is not click it. We choose what we and our families ingest, but if another adult decides that they need some animated boobies in their life, who are we to tell them no?.


DanMillerProfileDan Miller

Well as far as I know adult content (i.e. nudity and sexual content) is actually allowed in Kickstarter videogames, it’s pornographic material that’s prohibited. And I fully support that position, I’m happy for there to be no purely pornographic projects on Kickstarter.

However I have a problem with the lack of details as to what exactly is permitted and Kickstarter’s variable approach to dealing with perceived infringements. The comic category for example is seemingly able to get away with campaigns that are verging right on the edge of outright pornography whereas the rules are very rigorously enforced in the film category. Videogames with adult content meanwhile are sometimes able to run without interference while at other times Kickstarter will come down on them, usually if a project attracts negative press coverage.

Ideally I’d like to see a bit more flexibility in terms of adult content which could easily be implemented if Kickstarter provided clearer guidelines as to what exactly is permitted and allowed creators to declare upon submission if their project contains adult content. These could then be manually reviewed by Kickstarter staff before going live, and projects that have flagged adult content should only be viewable when logged in as a registered user to ensure children aren’t able to access them


gregGreg Micek

Thankfully there hasn’t been much of an uproar over Kickstarters stance on explicit videogame content, which is a good thing because I don’t see it as much of an issue.  In fact, it seems to really only impact visual novel developers, and they seem accustomed to having to play it clever when discussing the juicier bits of their games.  It would be nice if Kicksarter allowed them to be a bit more open about it though.  Hell, if nothing else then maybe Sam Hyde could have been a bit more transparent about creating his X rated My Little Pony visual novel, Dark Skyes.

darkskyesscam

Don’t allow nudity on the campaign pages, and do an age verification when backing adult themed projects.  Seems pretty easy.

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Greg Micek

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Greg Micek has been writing on and off about games since the late nineties, always with a focus on indie games. He started DIYGames.com in 2000, which was one of the earliest gaming sites to focus exclusively on indie games.
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  • Yes, the answer is yes!

  • I love how a good number if us suggested a special section just for adult content. Frankly, this is probably the best route to take to allow it without any real backlash.

  • Rafoca

    While I would hardly buy an adult game, I think that the option to buy one would be nice. What bothers me most is the prejudice people have when there is a penis or a vagina on a game. So what? It’s a natural thing. Why this upset people so much to the point developers have to blur the sexual parts so players or parents won’t get offended?

    Oh, the hypocrisy….