While Steam has gained an obscene reputation, the specifics of those who bring risky games to the platform are largely unknown to the general public. While trying to find out if Steam was really taken over by sex games, I stumbled upon a controversial but popular publisher who distributes incomprehensible erotic games on Steam.
Last year, over 7,000 games were would have released on Steam, that’s 21 overwhelming games every day, and the number grows with every new year. According to Steam espionage Sergey Galyonkin, 130 of the games released in 2017 were tagged with “sexual content”, up from 61 games in 2016. Tags are player-driven, leaving room for false positive trolls.
Galyonkin took down the jokes and identified the biggest sex games on Steam. One name kept coming up: SakuraGame. The Chinese publisher has only been active on Steam since the end of 2016, but he already has 26 titles to his credit. Each promises shiny haired foxes and the like at an insanely low price of around $ 2:
I bought a handful of these games to get a feel for what SakuraGame has to offer, and was surprised to find that every game I tried made virtually no sense. On the left and right, the titles published by SakuraGame featured very broken English which made it difficult to understand what was going on. Sure, you might get the broad strokes – we’re in a classroom right now, or hey, I’m running in the rain, but beyond that? Good luck trying to decipher the nuances of these text-rich games.
When there is no broken English, some translations look unintentionally funny. Sword fableThe opening moments of ‘s feature two characters named Lin and Yuu, who meet a young Chinese hunter named Steve. Sure why not.
Despite these quirks, many of these games apparently sold well for an independent outfit, with a number of them seemingly owned by hundreds of thousands of players according to SteamSpy’s metrics:
Why are so many people buying these absurd games? There is obviously a huge market for adult games, and if you’re there for the boobs, words probably don’t matter as much as art. While most of what I’ve seen appears to be generic anime fare, SakuraGame delivers some salacious art very well. A game that I tried, Materialistic girl, features a protagonist who is fumbled a few times near the start of the game, and while the details were all worded awkwardly, I could still vaguely understand what was going on.
Many of these games are available in Mandarin, and China is a huge market on Steam. And given that most of these games are sold very cheaply, often under $ 2, the buyer’s remorse factor for anyone who turns off bad English in games is probably a little easier to swallow. “Let’s just hope they spend more time in an English writing course, but I strongly suggest buying it for the asking price of $ 2,” reads SakuraGame’s best-published review. Elise the Devil, an RPG that has would have sold around 70,000 copies. Based on the apparent sales of SakuraGame titles, it seems that many Steam owners also forgive bad translations.
Even with that in mind, there is something special about the release of SakuraGame on Steam. They released over two dozen games in about a year. How did they release so many games in such a short time? The quality of the translations has led to a number of player-led conspiracy theories about SakuraGame’s translation methods, if not their general method of doing business. In May of last year, the game developer Soviet games accuse SakuraGame of copyright infringement on a picture of a classroom depicted in Super star, and this image also appeared on a collectible card in the game on Steam.
In response, SakuraGame’s Shippou apologized, stating that they had commissioned the art and that players then said that some elements belonged to “other authors”. SakuraGame claimed that the offending image was later removed, but apparently struggled to remove the counterfeit art from the gaming market, where it could be sold for real money. The altercation took place publicly on the Steam forums, and amid taunts from Steam users, SakuraGame developer Blue Sky pleaded, “I’m so sorry, forgive me: (“ In response, Soviet Games said, “God forgive, I will settle this matter with Steam support.” The exchange continued, with SakuraGame insisting that it was trying to change the artwork, which ultimately resulted in led Soviet Games to reply, “Why should I care? I see my artwork on the community market, and that’s enough for me. You could have contacted Steam support. If you steal other people’s artwork , then you should be prepared to face the consequences. PUBG the developers claimed that a lip appeared in the game because a freelance writer brought it into the project. But SakuraGame has been criticized at least one other time to apparently showcase the art of other games.
As sales increase, SakuraGames’ online reputation has continued to worsen. In another 2017 incident which was translated by fans on Twitter, Game developer tetsuzo_tjapan claimed that SakuraGame offered to help them release their game on Steam, which led to a conversation about what the plan might be. Apparently no documents were signed at the time, but tetsuzo_tjapan said that they still went ahead to create a Steam store page for their game. “Before signing the contract, they saved my work on Steam without notice, ”Tetsuzo said. Kotaku. “I got mad and asked SakuraGame to delete the store page. This prevented tetsuzo_tjapan from continuing to work with SakuraGame, and at the time he tweeted that “No matter what they try to offer me, I promise you right away that I won’t sign this contract. , I don’t want to make a big deal out of it, so I requested the store page be removed. The store page is no longer accessible on Steam, and Tetsuzo said Kotaku that “The negotiation of the contract has been broken off. This case is already over.
I contacted SakuraGame to find out more about how they do business on Steam, and due to language differences, they requested to conduct the interview via email. My first set of questions were largely about who they were as a company, and Pat, Head of “Foreign Operations,” was happy to answer non-controversial questions. As Pat said, the Chinese company started around a decade ago, operating primarily as a developer of mobile apps during the days when “free-to-play” was still a relatively new concept. It was a trend that made them hate their creative output. So they moved on to another area: instead of developing, the company would publish games instead. The hub, Pat says, helped the team achieve a better work-life balance, especially as members got older and started having children.
“We don’t even have a lot of time to play games, let alone develop,” Pat said. “Our ideas died out and our inspiration ran out. Ironically, we finally have the experience and resources that we always wanted, but the passion is gone. “
By becoming a publisher, he said, SakuraGame was able to stay in the game without burning out.
“It’s like we’re in an RPG, the developers we’re targeting [to] help are the warriors, [and] we are the priests. We heal, enhance, and do everything else, and let the developers focus on the one thing that matters: development. In this way, we can eliminate the risk for the developers, because we will take the risk for them.
By SakuraGame’s own admission, it is not easy to get developers to work with them. According to Pat, the publisher offers everything from technology to technical support for free for developers who want to bring their adult games to Steam.
SakuraGame wouldn’t tell me, however, how or why their games are localized so crudely, why so many of their games are released so cheaply, or what they think about their negative reputation. They avoided the tricky questions and stopped responding to emails once I pressed them on the more controversial aspects of their work on Steam. They promised to speak after the Chinese New Year, but the holidays are over. Valve also did not respond to the request for comment.
Despite the notoriety, SakuraGame continues to release game after game on Steam. Two months after the start of 2018, they have already introduced four games with sexual content on the platform. The most recent version, Love Apartment, is not available in English. Before that, SakuraGame released dragon knight, a repetitive roguelite where the more injured you are, the less armor you wear. I played until the first boss fight, a little lost as to why I was there or why I kept talking to a dragon. The introduction to the game is entirely in Mandarin, although the game dialogue appears in plain English. While the game has only been out for a few weeks, it already has 1.6,000 reviews, most of which are “very positive”.