Scottish National Party MP Hannah Bardell has called for a government review of tech companies and gaming platforms following the controversy around Rape Day, a visual novel-style game which let players rape and murder women in an apocalyptic setting. The game has since been removed from Steam, but critics say it never should have had the chance to get there in the first place.
“It’s time for the UK government to undertake a full review into how tech companies and gaming platforms – specifically Steam – are able to get away with this kind of stupidity,” Bardell says, as noted by GamesIndustry.biz. “The culture to seek forgiveness rather than permission is a stain on an industry that otherwise has the potential to be a real force for good.”
Shona Robinson, First Minister of the Scottish Parliament, joined Bardell’s call for a review to “strengthen the legislation around this area.” Robinson added that it “would be disgusting and deeply offensive” for any platform to allow a game like Rape Day to be published.
While Steam is specifically targeted in these comments, Robinson adds that “I am delighted that Steam has rejected the distribution of this incredibly shocking game on their online platform.”
Valve’s statement on Rape Day’s removal stopped well short of condemning the game – it simply suggested that the game’s publication would present risks for other Steam titles. Government legislation is certainly one such risk.
It’s unlikely that UK Parliament would be able to place any direct restrictions on Valve – it is after all a privately-owned US company – but Steam could be made subject to new restrictions on what sort of content it’s legally able to sell in the UK.