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?

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Companies: valve

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Comments on “Steam Becomes Available In China, Offers 53 Whole Games To Customers”

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crade (profile) says:

four stars! This game is to games what the Tiananmen Square Massacre was to china, galvanizing support for democracy and showing what evils an unchecked government can accomplish. This game has great lasting power, just like how Hong Kong thrived under democracy for so many years! Unlike how Winnie the poo went back n his one country two systems promise going to hurt hong kong further, this game really delivers!

Scary Devil Monastery (profile) says:

Re: Re:

"Gotta love Communism."

If only. What China practices is more akin to neo-feudalism than communism however. I know of absolutely no forms of "communisms" which include "righteous (obedient) capitalists" in their core tenets.

China has always been an ultra-autocratic oligarchic bureaucracy where all the power is held in a network of bureaucrats. The current system is no different than what they’ve had for the last 2500 years. The one and only difference being that instead of an emperor figurehead they now have a chairman-for-life.

There is no room in actual communism for the tooth-and-claw capitalism chinese companies live by. None. Their version of the free market makes that of even the US look like Worker’s Utopia.

Scary Devil Monastery (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Well, there’d be some truth to that if it concerned only western websites. One aspect of Golden Shield is the attempt for China to become completely self-sufficient online; They have their own search engines, online markets, amazon competitors like alibaba, any amount of streaming services, and their own filesharing sites. Hell, even their torrent nodes are internal.

The thing is that unlike most contenders to try that stunt they have infinite resources to toss at that project, high technical skills, and a population of 1,4 billion, making becoming culturally self-sufficient an easy matter. The only real fly in the ointment is that the great firewall does make international banking inconvenient. If the US tried the same the attempt would collapse within months as the costs rose, but Imperial China certainly has no problems accepting a loss leader as long as it consolidates their power over the citizenry.

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