The global version of the Steam store is now banned in China, according to multiple reports. Earlier today, Twitter user Ricky Owens (@_FireMonkey) shared the news, which has been since corroborated via various means.
Basically, Steam is blocked in China pic.twitter.com/552bej6vqA
— Santa Ricky (@_FireMonkey) December 25, 2021
Indeed, the Steampowered domain isn’t accessible anymore to Chinese users according to Comparitech, while Steamchina is. That’s the domain of the Chinese version of Steam, which Valve launched in February 2021 through a partnership with Perfect World.
Steam China is far more limited than the global version, though. It was built to comply with the Chinese government’s strict regulations on videogames and Internet usage. First and foremost, to publish a game on this platform a developer would need Chinese government approval for the game. That’s why the Chinese version only had 53 games at launch, not to mention the lack of features such as Steam Forums, Steam Workshop, Steam Market, and more.
If confirmed, this would seem like yet another crackdown on videogames from the Chinese government, following the massive restrictions imposed just three months ago on minors’ ability to play online.
- Strictly limit the time of providing online game services to minors – All online game enterprises can only provide one hour of service to minors from 20:00 to 21:00 daily on Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays, and legal holidays.
- Strictly implement the requirements for real-name registration and login of online game user accounts – Do not provide game services in any form to users without real-name registration and login.
However, according to SteamDB, the Steam client itself is unaffected thus far and Chinese users can still play without issues. It remains to be seen whether these blocks imposed to the store and API subdomains will be extended to affect the client itself.
https://t.co/CIws7JthEb still works (so only global Steam is affected).
Steam client itself is unaffected and users in China can still play just fine at the moment.
— SteamDB (@SteamDB) December 25, 2021
We’ll update this story as soon as we learn any new details regarding Steam’s status in China.
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