Valve announced that its hugely popular game distribution service Steam will be officially rolled out in China. Until the announcement, Chinese gamers accessed the games library through unofficial ways that the government often tried to block.
Valve and Shanghai-based Perfect World unveiled the plan on Monday. Perfect World is a Chinese company that helped the game developer to market a Chinese version of Counter-Strike: Global Offensive and Dota 2 to the Chinese audience.
Local Chinese users can access Steam, but indirectly as the government usually blocks such services. The service was heavily censored before the announcement. Valve managed to bypass the censorship by partnering with a local firm, Perfect World.
China is a huge market for the gaming industry so Valve or any other company should not miss the opportunity. Chinese gamers are especially hooked on mobile games.
Other foreign companies inked deals with Chinese companies to enter the market. For instance, Blizzard joined forces with China’s NetEase to run the Battle.net in China. The partnership made it possible for games like StarCraft II and Overwatch to make it into the country through the front door.
The Service Wil Be Censored in China
Nevertheless, Valve’s latest move doesn’t kill censorship in China. The store will likely be censored, and titles will have to be tailored for the Chinese market.
In other countries, Valve is not that concerned about content curation. The developer announced that any types of titles can be uploaded to the Steam store unless they are “trolling” or unlawful. One example of a trolling title is a school shooting simulator that was quickly taken down from the store.
Steam China will reportedly not disrupt other services offered by Valve in the country. Perfect World will help Valve with the marketing, Steam China’s launch, and game selection. This means that the content will be heavily curated.
A launch date has not been set for Steam in China.
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