Valve has announced that it would launch the official Chinese version of Steam. Last year, China generated close to $32.54 billion in gaming revenue. With a gaming population of over six hundred million, it’s not difficult to comprehend why the Chinese gaming market is a magnet for foreign game developers.
On a general note, penetrating China's domestic market is no easy task due to all of the protectionist policies in place. Many Western companies establish a partnership with a local company to circumvent this obstacle. But now it seems that Valve has also taken that old-school route to introduce its Steam platform in China.
Amidst all the E3 madness and excitement, Valve has announced that it has joined forces once again with Chinese video game developer Perfect World to launch the official Chinese version of Steam. Valve and Perfect World are no strangers to each other, having worked together previously to distribute DOTA (Defense of the Ancients) 2 and CS:GO (Counter-Strike: Global Offensive) in the Chinese gaming market. Valve aims to provide Chinese gamers and developers the opportunity to access Steam’s generous collection of over 20,000 games and 3,000 VR titles.
As a matter of fact, Steam’s latest survey revealed that around 26.53% of gamers on the platform use the client in Simplified Chinese, which means that Steam is already accessible by many Chinese gamers. However, they do so in an under-the-table manner. Chinese regulators have recently blocked some of the Steam client’s community features like the forums, player profiles, and basically all features that involved user interaction. This new partnership with Perfect World is the first step towards legalizing the Steam platform in China, and subsequently allowing Valve to operate legally on Chinese soil. Nonetheless, Valve would still need to abide by Chinese censorship laws.
Valve sent out a press release assuring users that Steam’s existing worldwide operations and services are to remain unchanged. Although a release date for Steam China wasn’t specified, Valve promised that it would provide more information in due course.