Valve's Steam Heats up as Porn Games Drive Growing Ecosystem

With consumer interest in adult gaming on the uptick, an increasing number of users are seeking saucy content on platforms such as Steam — which calls itself “the ultimate destination for playing, discussing and creating games” — and the mainstream media is taking notice.

When the Steam Store opened its doors to virtual reality porn games and other adult titles in June 2018, much of the adult entertainment industry paid little mind, but as XBIZ noted, the move was “a pragmatic position that liberates the exchange of ideas — even when those ideas and depictions might be a bit naughty.”

While “porn” tends to be a trigger word overused by headline-blaring, shock-seeking mainstream media sources, it does describe some of Steam’s racier content; perhaps “adult-oriented” is a better descriptor, as we’re typically talking about cartoons here. This doesn’t mean the platform isn’t of interest to porn fans and pros, however; besides content for end-users, such as bikini-babe puzzles and scantily clad shoot-'em-ups, Steam showcases a variety of creative tools ranging from custom screen saver- and wallpaper-generating apps to full workshops for building complex VR worlds with user avatars and live chat integration, offering a palette of possibilities for brand promotion and product launches that are available to any content creator — from the humblest cam girl to the biggest corporation.

As an example of the growing media interest, a recent report in The Daily Dot guided gaming porn fans through the steps required to access Steam’s treasure trove of steamy titles; such as setting preferences to display games depicting varying degrees of sexuality, including “General Mature Content” and “Adult Only Sexual Content,” along with the use of content tags and site categories to surface the desired titles.

The article serves as one more data point in an upward trend for adult gaming and for Steam in particular, but is this spotlight on Steam’s success good for its growing user base?

It’s a tried-and-true system for success: launch a new digital media sharing platform and then turn a semi-blind eye to what its users are up to until it attains a desirable market share, when adopting stricter acceptable use policies makes the company more attractive to big-dollar investors — and less attractive to busybodies trying to interfere in anything they see as “immoral.”

Steam now sits in the sweet spot between nerd sanctuary and mainstream mainstay — but as it grows, and more folks take notice, the easy access to lewd games it offers may become a lightning rod for party poopers incensed that something so youthful as “playing games” could also entertain adults.