Steam Becomes Available In China, Offers 53 Whole Games To Customers
from the ultimate-curation dept
There is no shortage of critiques for Valve’s online PC game store, Steam. That’s to be expected, frankly, given how big the platform is. Still, on the ground with individual gamers, one of the most common complaints you hear will be that the sheer volume of games on Steam is somewhat paralyzing for customers deciding where to spend their money. Steam tried to combat this for years with its Steam Curators program, where gamers put their trust in curators to pare down game search results. It never really worked, though, as the program encountered the same issue as the game: the sheer volume of curators.
And so nothing really got solved. Except for in China, it seems, where Steam recently launched with a grand total of 53 whole games available to buyers.
Steam is now available in China, and if you thought that would give Chinese gamers instant access to the weird, wonderful and sometimes deeply offensive depths of the service’s catalogue, well lol, no, of course it doesn’t.
At time of posting this custom, localised version of Valve’s shopfront only has 53 games available, with the main ones being Counter-Strike and DOTA 2. That’s it. If you visit the store and click on “all games” you can see everything in a single screenshot.
You already know why this is happening. In order to be available in China, games have to go through an approval process with the Chinese government. Given the insanely strict rules for approval, few publishers even try to get approval. That, plus the related apathy for entering the market, gets you 53 games on Chinese Steam.
In addition, the forums on Steam are blocked as well, ostensibly to keep any speech Beijing would disapprove of from appearing on the site. Oddly, user reviews are available, however.
Honestly, it’s enough to make you wonder why this release was worth it for Steam at all. Put another way, if gaining approval from the Chinese government to release a video game is so difficult and/or arduous to keep most game publishers away, why would a game storefront be any different?