Valve has released a beta version of Steam China with games approved by the Chinese government. It concerns 41 games, such as Dota 2 and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive. Until now, Chinese players used the global variant, which was actually not allowed.
Steam China has its own webpage and is very similar in layout to the global version. The Chinese variant does lack some functionality, such as the Community page. Also, Steam China now only has a limited number of games and other software, such as Wallpaper Engine and Dyson Sphere Program. There are at least six more games to come. Valve has worked for Steam China with the Chinese company Perfect World.
IGN reports that users can log in with an existing Steam Global account as well as create a new one. When players use such an existing account, they will see previously purchased games in their library. These games must be approved by the Chinese government.
Analyst Daniel Ahmad tells IGN that Chinese users will now no longer be able to play Chinese government-approved games in the global version of Steam. Games such as Dota 2 and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive can only be played for Chinese users via Steam China. In a faq, the Chinese Dota 2 site states that users who play through Steam China for the first time must verify their identity. In this way, Valve knows, among other things, whether the user is a minor and whether he should therefore fall under the anti-addiction system. Underage Dota 2 users will not be able to play the game between 10pm and 8am. Every day they can play for a maximum of one and a half hours, with the exception of holidays, when they can play for three hours.
The arrival of Steam China is not unexpected; Valve announced the platform in 2018. The global version of Steam is already unofficially usable in China, but Valve ran the risk that China could block it at any time. In the country, games must comply with strict legislation, such as no gambling elements in the games, they must have anti-addiction systems and they must adhere to the social values of China. Certain elements of Steam, such as the Community, were already blocked in China.
Valve itself also says that it has developed Steam China in order to place the servers close to Chinese users. In this way, the download times should be shortened. It must also be possible to localize the games. Valve says there will be no exclusive games for Steam China.