After months of dormancy, Valve and Chinese video game developer Perfect World gave an update on the long-awaited Steam China gaming platform. The new Chinese gaming platform will be called “Zhengqi Pingtai” in Chinese and it will be independent from Steam’s global game distribution platform.
Steam China will be dedicated to Chinese gamers with high-speed servers and high-quality localized services, the company said in press conference on Wednesday. Now, it is “one step closer” to its launch and 40 games, including hit games Dota 2 and Dota Underlords, will be available on the platform, according to Perfect World’s CEO Xiao Hong.
Launched in 2003, Steam is one of the world’s largest video game digital distribution platforms. Though popular among Chinese gamers, Steam is not currently accessible without a VPN (virtual private network) in China, the world’s largest gaming market. At the beginning of this year, Steam was already hosting more than 30,000 games, not including downloadable content.
Perfect World, which is based in Beijing, announced in June 2018 that it will work together with Valve to develop a Chinese version of the gaming platform. Five months later, in November, Valve and Perfect World signed a partnership to launch Steam China.
Chinese gamers are mostly unimpressed by the development of an independent Steam China, though it could provide better network connections, gaming communities, and customer services, observed Liao Xuhua, a gaming analyst at Beijing-based data consultancy Analysys.
Most Chinese gamers are watching how the two companies will deal with their accounts on Steam’s international platform after the introduction of an independent Chinese platform. “Just like PlayStation 4 and Xbox 1, most transactions are still going to be on servers outside China,” he said. “Gamers worry that they won’t be able to use the international platform.”
But if Valve and Steam China allow the international platform to co-exist with its Chinese counterpart, then “Perfect World would have very limited room for probability,” Liao said.