Public Beta Version of Steam China Launches Next Week

According to a prominent video game industry analyst, Daniel Ahmed of Nico Partners, a public beta of Steam will be launched in China this February 9, 2021, thanks to the collaborative efforts of Valve and Perfect World. This is truly an exciting event, given the fact that it will be the first time that the digital platform will launch in the country.

Of course, this version of Steam will be different from the international one. For one thing, Steam China won’t be the same application as the one the other countries are using. Meaning to say that it will be its very own application. However, that’s not even the most distinguishing aspect.

What makes Steam China significantly different from the international version is the fact that not every game on Steam will be available on the platform—only the ones that have been approved by the Chinese authorities. As such, the Chinese version of games such as Fortnite, which is known to have significant changes from its original iteration, are the only ones that can be sold.

That being said, it doesn’t matter which Steam version users choose to use; all accounts on the storefront will still function on the two versions. This means that those Chinese players who were already able to create a Steam account before can still log into Steam China using their already existing credentials—that is, if they want to.

Chinese gamers have always been a massive population in the video game market. The authorities banned the use of consoles until recently, though, which is why most gamers from mainland China gravitate towards mobile and PC gaming. Although, it’s worth noting that this fact has been changing quite rapidly, as the Nintendo Switch has been gaining popularity among the gaming community in the country.

Even though Valve’s Steam was more or less in the legal gray area before, this didn’t stop Chinese players from downloading and using it. Still, the existence of Steam China would undoubtedly be beneficial to the Chinese gaming community, especially the new and/or casual gamers.

After all, not everyone has the expertise of downloading a strange foreign app that may or may not be legal. So, the launch of Steam China will give gamers an opportunity to purchase and play titles that they want without having to go through dubiously legal ways.

Also, Steam China will offer something more to casual gamers, something beyond just mobile titles which are prominent in the Chinese market. Asides from that, this will be a great opportunity for foreign developers if they want their games to be noticed in the Chinese market.

While the release of Steam China has its benefits, it could also be a gateway to other issues. Since only the game approved by the Chinese government can be available on the platform, this could mean that the authorities could have even more power and control over what content the citizens can consume.

Aletheia
Cat and literature-lover. I play RPG games when I have the time.
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