Steam China launches with just 53 games

midian182

Posts: 6,786   +61
Staff member
What just happened? This week saw the long-awaited public launch of Steam China, a version of Valve’s platform designed specifically for the country and its strict rules for which games get government approval. While it gives Chinese users their own servers to play on, only 53 games are available and none of the usual community features.

Valve has spent years working on Steam China with Chinese publisher Perfect World, the company behind Remnant: From the Ashes. While the international version of Steam is available in the country, and accessible without a VPN, many of the community features aren’t easily accessible, reports PC Gamer.

Almost all the games on Steam’s international version aren’t compliant with China’s media regulations, making its presence legally questionable in the country. With the China-specific version, every game has been licensed by the Chinese government—all 53 of them. The standard version of Steam, for comparison, has 21,131 games and DLC.

Some of the titles on Steam China include Valve classics Counter-Strike: Global Offensive and Dota 2. Helpfully, international Steam accounts can be transferred to Steam China, including wallet balances and any of the purchased games allowed in the country. Additionally, any games bought on Steam China will work on the international version.

Community features including the Steam Workshop, forums, community pages, and guides are missing from Steam China, though reviews, taken from both Steam versions, remain.

While both versions of Steam currently work in China, there’s concern that the international one will eventually join China’s long list of blocked western internet services. Such a move would be devastating for gamers and developers, the latter of which often wait years to be granted a government license.

In addition to Steam, Chinese gamers will soon be able to buy a PlayStation 5 in the country, assuming the shortages ease. China finally allowed the manufacture and sale of video game consoles back in 2015 following a 14-year ban.

Steam is seeing record user numbers right now. Earlier this week, an all-time high of 26.4 million people connected to the service, breaking a record set last month.

Permalink to story.

 

QuantumPhysics

Posts: 4,894   +5,435
This is huge.

A gigantic market.

China has more “gamers” than America and Canada combined have citizens.

You need to invest in this market.

 

duckofdeath

Posts: 369   +467
This is huge.

A gigantic market.

China has more “gamers” than America and Canada combined have citizens.

You need to invest in this market.
It's more problematic and concerning for Western buyers that Steam is agreeing to Chinese authoritarian decrees. Every other industry and trade doing this has since been caught adapting their own world views to what Winnie the Xi says. Including arbitrary businesses like the NBA and the English Premier League.
 

QuantumPhysics

Posts: 4,894   +5,435
It's more problematic and concerning for Western buyers that Steam is agreeing to Chinese authoritarian decrees. Every other industry and trade doing this has since been caught adapting their own world views to what Winnie the Xi says. Including arbitrary businesses like the NBA and the English Premier League.


Let me make this very simple for everyone to understand.

#1 China is a huge market - larger than North America and South America combined.

#2 India is a huge market - larger than North America and South America combined.

#3 Southeast Asia is a huge market - larger than North America and South America combined and it's controlled by CHINA.

#4 Corporations are multinational.

#5 Corporations have no choice but to placate to those markets.

Either get on the train, or get left behind.

In order to tell you EXACTLY how I feel, I would be in direct violation of the site's TOS, so I need you to read between the lines for now.
 

PlantPanda

Posts: 7   +20
Let me make this very simple for everyone to understand.

#1 China is a huge market - larger than North America and South America combined.

#2 India is a huge market - larger than North America and South America combined.

#3 Southeast Asia is a huge market - larger than North America and South America combined and it's controlled by CHINA.

#4 Corporations are multinational.

#5 Corporations have no choice but to placate to those markets.

Either get on the train, or get left behind.

In order to tell you EXACTLY how I feel, I would be in direct violation of the site's TOS, so I need you to read between the lines for now.

Allow me to reply in a simple and calm manner to your points and their problems.

#1: Nobody is disputing this fact.

#2: Nobody is disputing this fact.

#3: Nobody is disputing this fact.

#4: Nobody is disputing this fact.

#5: Corporations have the choice not to placate those markets. There will be consequences for the company prioritizing morality and ethics over profits but the private entity can make another choice than appeal to those markets. The problem people have with Steam doing this is that it can, and has been proven to become a dangerous and slippery slope where corporations start to cede control of their products over to the censorship bodies of the Chinese government. The way you express yourself leads others to believe you are demanding they do business with China's territories rather than abstain from compromising on their principles. When a corporation's only bottom line is profit (which, regrettably, almost always is), it is in their nature to cut corners in the name of revenue. Trim off pieces of their morality until all you have left is profit, profit and horror. People don't like businesses dealing with China because they are responsible for atrocious human-rights violations and the private individuals would rather stick to their values and get left behind by the train than get on it and surrender everything that made them respected people.

Finally, nobody asked you how you feel, so I don't quite understand why you "need" people here "to read in between the lines for now" when it seems clear to me nobody cares. This is TechSpot, not a helpline.
 

duckofdeath

Posts: 369   +467
Let me make this very simple for everyone to understand.

#1 China is a huge market - larger than North America and South America combined.

#2 India is a huge market - larger than North America and South America combined.

#3 Southeast Asia is a huge market - larger than North America and South America combined and it's controlled by CHINA.

#4 Corporations are multinational.

#5 Corporations have no choice but to placate to those markets.

Either get on the train, or get left behind.

In order to tell you EXACTLY how I feel, I would be in direct violation of the site's TOS, so I need you to read between the lines for now.
I don't care how much money someone else can make, if it literally affects how that greedy company then misrepresents reality in my part of the world.
 

Lew Zealand

Posts: 1,813   +1,967
TechSpot Elite
Waitwaitwaitwait.

Does this mean that when regular Steam is banned from PRC, that all the Chinese gamerz who've been grinding levels to sell characters to the West for $$$, and clogging up PVP games (OK, except COD and DOTA) will suddenly disappear?

Hmmm, I'm looking forward to that.
 

8600M GT

Posts: 19   +11
IMO this is a mistake for Valve/Steam. Steam is already available in China, so what benefit do they gain? Steam is also pretty popular in China, and unlike, say, Google with Baidu, there isn't a catch-all alternative for users to migrate to, decreasing the chances of it being blocked and increasing the popular discontent if it is blocked. Steam China will have such a limited selection that it is going to be unappealing to gamers and not competitive to Steam International currently is in sales should Steam International be blocked; this will protect only a sliver of their market, and have a lower margin due to the local partnership.

If you ask me, they should focus on making money from Steam International when they can, realizing that in the long term what the PRC wants is their domestic gaming market to be controlled by a domestic company, and playing softball with them isn't going to change that.

For the user, the benefits seem quite small as well. Lower ping in a few games, but less than 1% of the games? Why bother?

As a non-PRC user, I suppose I'd rather have them launch Steam China than Valve imposing PRC censorship on their entire catalogue. Concerns about the PRC are indeed the top reason that I don't buy games on the Epic Game Store - being 48% owned by Tencent, the chances that they will start censoring games are much higher than that Steam will.
 
If you ask me, they should focus on making money from Steam International when they can, realizing that in the long term what the PRC wants is their domestic gaming market to be controlled by a domestic company, and playing softball with them isn't going to change that.
China has a superb technology for gaming's. I'm looking forward to that.