Steam opened many doors for the PC market, most importantly for indie developers to reach a broader audience. Before asset flips were a problem, real developers had a comfortable space to share their work and sometimes reach an unexpected success level, as is the case of Undertale, Stardew Valley, and To The Moon to name a few. The platform also made possible for visual novels to branch further than their small circles, with Hatoful Boyfriend and Long Live the Queen becoming major hits despite the influence of their competition.
In recent years we have seen adult-themed games making their way to the storefront. Whether they feature explicit nudity or just enough to entice the imagination, their primary theme is sex and women’s bodies. From the suggestive HuniePop, Sakura Clicker, HunieCam Studio, and the recent Porno Studio Tycoon to the more explicit Sonicomi, there’s no shortage of sex-themed games on Steam. However larger the adult catalog grows on the platform, it’s difficult to spot any games developed for the male gay audience and women who enjoy the genre. Besides My Ex-Boyfriend the Space Tyrant, other games made with this audience in mind focus on diversity and inclusion rather than strong sexual themes.
It is true that women also play video games and that lesbians are just as happy to see small clothes on female characters as straight men are, but let’s not pretend that most of these adult-themed games were developed by men for men. Their existence and how well most of them were received serves to show that, at least when it comes to PC gaming, men are still a predominant demographic. There are otome games (specifically targeted towards the female audience) on Steam, but they’re not as easy to find as the aforementioned genre. And of course, gay-themed video games with explicit sexual themes are practically non-existent on Steam.
There’s no denying that the BL (Boys Love) genre is popular. Indie studio Herculion, previously known in the BL scene as Black Monkey Pro, had its gay-themed dating sim Full Service successfully funded on Kickstarter. Before that, they were popular for explicit mangas and CG collections as well as the visual novels Bacchikoi and Sleep Over. Still, none of these games ever made it to Steam. Other successful BL games include DRAMAtical Murder, which earned its own cult following, No, Thank You!!!, and Absolute Obedience.
Despite how successful the genre is, we don’t see anything remotely close on Steam besides the aforementioned My Ex-Boyfriend the Space Tyrant. 2064: Read Only Memories focuses mostly on metaphors that relate to LGBT themes (as well as characters that are clear representations of the community), but its intention is primarily sociopolitical. 2015’s AKIBA’S TRIP: Undead & Undressed allows players to undress male characters as well as make the protagonist wear female clothes; however, the story focuses on a heterosexual romance with strong Japanese tropes.
As shocking as it is for some first world countries, the LGBT community as a whole still has to prove its worth. Prejudice is still rampant in many parts of the world where gay men and women struggle with a lack of honest media representation, so it’s understandable why catering to safer products is a regular choice. Still, that doesn’t mean gay men (and women who enjoy watching men as much as straight men enjoy watching women) don’t deserve games that focus on mindless sexual themes readily available at the most accessible platform.
I’m not saying developers should refrain from making games with sexual themes targeted at straight men. By all means, carry on. But it would be great to see adult games with gay sexual themes available on Steam as well, no matter how disgusted the general public is.