Image: Wallpaper Engine Team

Wallpaper Engine has proven to be popular among Chinese gamers for reasons that go beyond decorating the desktop.

As reported by MIT Technology Review, a significant amount of gamers from China have flocked to the Steam app over the past few years because it’s an effective way of getting porn past censors. Adult websites are banned in China, making this sort of content tough to find, but Wallpaper Engine can be used like a cloud drive, allowing users to exchange adult-only content.

Chinese users already comprise at least 40% of Wallpaper Engine’s global user base, according to MIT Technology Review’s estimates. The publication also found that porn is pretty common and easy to find in Wallpaper Engine despite the level of contributions that it receives.

The majority of user-submitted wallpapers in the software’s Workshop are innocuous: anime characters, cyberpunk cities, landscape drawings, and movie posters. But it’s also not hard to find NSFW content in between: about 7.5% of the over 1.6 million contributions are labeled “mature.” These are often nude anime characters in suggestive poses and sexual positions, and occasionally pornographic photos and videos of real people.

Wallpaper Engine has been popular with Chinese gamers since 2016, according to Steam reviews that stretch back to that year, which are written in Chinese and “talk about one thing: porn.”

“It was at least two or three years ago when this went viral,” explained Zhou, a Chinese gamer in Beijing. “I was confused why it was always [on the top 10 played games ranking]. Did people like to change their wallpapers so often?”

Wallpaper Engine has an Overwhelmingly Positive rating on Steam, with nearly 400,000 reviews counted since its Early Access release in October 2016.

The app is currently listed on Steam for $3.99.

Source: MIT Technology Review

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4 comments

  1. That explains the weirdly high amount of concurrent 'players' it showed on steam a few days ago when the story about Stray came up. I was wondering about that since I'd never heard of it and just notched it up to being one of those things that just went viral and I was clueless about.
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  2. "Son, you're going to be late for class. Were you up all night playing Wallpaper Engine again?"

    Times sure have changed since the days when desperate kids would stash the Sears catalog under the bed.

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