Upcoming Launch of ‘Steam China’ Has Gamers Worried

A localized version will likely mean more oversight, and thus fewer games to choose from.

The world’s most popular online gaming platform, Steam, has announced the imminent launch of its China-specific version, amid a wider cleanup of unauthorized video games in the country.

According to a notice Thursday, Valve Corporation and Perfect World — Steam’s U.S. owner and Chinese partner, respectively — have been “working tirelessly” to release a domestic version in “early 2021.”

Chinese gamers, though, aren’t happy with the move.

Having had unfettered access to Steam’s international offerings for years, they fear the local version will mean restricted access to popular titles, the loss of their gaming libraries, and more stringent controls such as age restrictions and anti-addiction rules.

China currently requires that online games be officially registered, a lengthy and involved process that entails finding a local partner and scrutiny of all content.

But for years, Steam has somehow managed to thrive in a legal grey area. Its international version offers Chinese payment options like WeChat Pay and Alipay, but its huge library of games includes many titles the Chinese government would likely find objectionable, such as the crime-glorifying “Grand Theft Auto” series.

It’s unknown how many gamers in China use Steam, but estimates stood at over 40 million in 2019, or about one in three users. Simplified Chinese is now the most-used language on the platform. Continue to read the full article here


– This article originally appeared on Sixth Tone