Chinese Gamers Unreceptive to Valve’s Introduction of “Steam China”

Chinese video game developer, Perfect World announced on June 12 that it will be working with U.S. counterpart, Valve Corporation in order to bring gaming platform Steam to China through a “Steam China” project.

Perfect World and Valve have indeed worked together on past projects such as operation of Valve’s Dota 2 and CS:GO in China, but this project would instead introduce “a new channel” for Chinese users to access the popular game distribution platform according to Perfect World’s official Weibo post. Currently, access to the Steam store is still available whereas Steam Community has been blocked in China since December 2017.

Valve's Dota 2
Valve’s Dota 2

In survey results released by Valve in May 2018, 26.5% of the users on Steam have set “simplified Chinese” as their language, only 10% lower than “English” which claimed first place with 36.9%.

According to market intelligence firm Newzoo, China is expected to contribute to more than one-quarter of the world’s total gaming revenue with an amount of $37.9 billion in 2018. It also tops the global charts in terms of gaming revenue and number of players.

2018 Global Games Market
2018 Global Games Market

It is not hard to see why Valve wants a piece of the Chinese pie, but the reception of Chinese gamers as seen by the comments under the Weibo post has been less than welcoming. Users are worried about game content changes by the Ministry of Culture, blocked access to the global Steam Store, and being unable to play games that have already been purchased after the Chinese versions are released.

The second most up-voted comment with over 900 likes states that the move will “put the Chinese gaming industry back 10 years”, while another user comments that the “World” is no longer “Perfect” coupled with several profanities.

More information, such as an official launch date and the details of the Steam China program, are yet to be released.