By CCN Markets: Steam and its Chinese partner Perfect World just announced new details on China's version of Steam.
The entire platform will work independently from the rest of Steam and claims it will offer a service tailored specifically for Chinese players. This news is sure to have an impact on Steam's over 30 million users in China, who'll now have to make the change, despite Perfect World not admitting to it.
NGL, I think this is a big, big question re: steam china and valve is very carefully dodging it: why not just using existing steam, which has a much bigger library and all the same games
— Aura✨Moom🔜PAX (@MOOMANiBE) August 21, 2019
The gaming world, in general, will suffer as well.
It's a result of China's crackdown on gaming
Steam China will launch with 40 launch titles.
Perfect World and Valve announced the launch window titles for Steam China! Descenders is one of them!
I took a video but it won’t upload on my Chinese 4G, so here’s some bad photos of all the logos pic.twitter.com/uIXWD7PHwd
— Mike Rose is in Shanghai then PAX West (@RaveofRavendale) August 21, 2019
That's not an impressive number, but games need to go through high scrutiny to be approved. China's government has been tightening its grip on violent, sexual, and political content on games for a while, in what's been criticized as an attempt to control the population. Just a few months ago, China coerced the developers of Rainbow Six into tailoring the game's experience towards Chinese audiences. China's influence is so significant that Ubisoft came close to censoring the game globally, just to ensure everyone was able to experience the same game together without any possibly unfair competitive advantage. With two separate platforms, developers will be able to make the game they want for each community. Unfortunately, it will be at the cost of Chinese players, and at the expense of killing the dream of a global gaming community.
Naturally, people aren't happy about it.
Instead of a unified, global storefront accessible to everyone, there's going to be a Steam China and a Steam International, segmenting the audience. Steam China will almost certainly kowtow to any Chinese censorship request to give Valve access to that (huge) market.
— Chris Franklin (@Campster) August 21, 2019
Terrible move for China, a big opportunity for Steam
China's crackdown on gaming is likely a shot on the foot. Tencent was once the unquestionable gaming leader in China. The owner of Fortnite and League of Legends' stock dropped 40% in 2018. That's over $230 billion in market value due to Government regulations. In what was supposedly a move that would make China stronger, they kicked their biggest company to the curb and paved the way for Valve, the biggest gaming company in the world to take its number one spot with Steam. Valve is undoubtedly going to do their best at taking whatever they can from its weakened rival.
This is happening just a few days after Cuba also decided to impose its rule on gamers. This is an alarming trend, where the cons mostly outweigh the pros for people who envision a world where we can all play together. But at least it will be less likely to see massive review bomb campaigns towards games Xi-Jinping doesn't like.