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They use one of Steam’s most popular games to stream porn

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Faced with censorship, Chinese players have found a parade to consume pornographic content. They use a wallpaper application, available on Steam.

Online pornography has no place in China, forcing netizens to be creative in accessing it. If you have recently viewed the ranking of the most played games on Steam ; you may have been surprised to find a wallpapers app there. behind games like Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, Dota 2 or Grand Theft Auto Vwe find a app called Wallpaper Engine. Present in the top 20 (or top 10 at the time of these lines); this application allows you to download and replace static wallpapers with animated and interactive wallpapers. The concept is not new and Windows Vista users will no doubt remember DreamScene.

Its presence in the Steam ranking is surprising. The MIT Technology Review conducted the investigation and discovered the presence of “more than 200,000” comments written in Chinese. And these relate to a specific subject. “Critics almost all talk about one thing: porn. Or more specifically, using the software as a cloud player and video player to exchange adult content”. Wallaper Engine is therefore diverted from its primary function and would count “at least 40%” of Chinese users globally.

Steam, a backdoor for Chinese “players”

While online pornography is banned in China, MIT rightly points out that Steam “one of the only popular global platforms still available in the country”. She stands out as “an inevitable choice” for Internet users thanks to “its community features, high-speed international servers, and increasingly passive approach to sexual content”. First appearing in October 2016, Wallpaper Engine was developed by a duo based in Germany. Most content is aimed at all audiences, but approximately 7.5% of contributions carry the label “for adults”.

Despite its likely status as the most “played” software on Steam; Wallpaper Engine isn’t much talked about in the rest of the world. In China, it has gradually gained popularity thanks to this “hidden” function before attracting more attention in 2020. The journalist Cui Jianyi had then tested the tool and discovered the presence of porn, hentai anime; Donald Trup memes or pirated copies of American films.

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