Steam is finally officially available in China. Technically, Steam hasn’t really been approved for use in China, although you’d never know it from looking at the player counts and sales numbers. It’s existed in a murky limbo where the Chinese government has turned a bit of a blind eye to all the citizens using a VPN and the international version of the Valve store to play PC games. At least until now. Valve, in a government-approved partnership with Perfect World, has launched Steam China. It’s just like Steam if you squint really hard.
It’s got the right look and it sells game like Steam, but Steam China has only 50 or so games on it at launch. (Thankfully, all vetted and licensed by the government approval boards.) The biggest difference is all the community features have been swept away in a gloriously cleansing wave of patriotic duty. No pesky chat or forums to negatively impact your view of the games (or the government) and no community guides to cheat your way past content. User reviews for games are available, but I’d wager there’s some monitoring going on there.
Steam community features have never been usable in China despite the widespread use of VPN to access it. Now, there won’t even be the temptation!