PC gaming in China is huge. According to Asian games market research firm Niko Partners, there were an estimated 321 million PC gamers in the country in 2019. By comparison, the entire population of the US was around 328 million in 2019.
One of the most popular digital distribution platforms for games is Steam, available in many countries around the world including China, where it has over 30 million users. Despite its popularity in China, Steam operates in a gray area. Certain content and features aren’t accessible without a VPN, but gamers can still purchase games, including some titles that haven’t gone through the official domestic approval process in China. For developers, the approval process can be vague, time-consuming and costly, which is why Steam is such an appealing option.
In 2018, Perfect World announced a partnership with Valve, maker of Steam to develop a localized version of the platform that would be independent from the widely used global version. While no release date has been set, it’s reportedly getting closer to being launched. Meanwhile, uncertainties surrounding Steam China have left some gamers and developers worried they’ll be locked out of the global version of Steam.
To explain to you more about the PC gaming scene in China, and the role that Steam plays in it, watch this video by KrASIA.
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