Steam China offers only 53 games and limited community features

China's government approval process has culled the platform.

Image via Steam

Valve has officially launched a Chinese version of its Steam marketplace, but the offerings are slim, which is to be expected based on where it was released. 

As of its launch on Feb. 9, the platform only features 53 games, including two of Valve’s biggest titles: CS:GO and Dota 2

The reason for the Chinese version of Steam only having 53 games compared to the more than 34,000 titles available across the other international platforms simply comes down to the country’s policies. Valve is limited to selling games that have passed through a strenuous review process and received a government license that shows the game meets China’s media standards. 

Many games will likely never see an official release in China because of those media standards, which take into account every aspect of a game’s content and how it might impact Chinese culture and the government’s stance on certain subjects. 

Valve, Activision Blizzard, and other big game companies like Square Enix and Ubisoft have been making changes to their games for years, changing imagery and other aspects of titles like CS:GO, Final Fantasy, and Rainbow Six Siege so they could make it into the Chinese market. 

As expected, Steam China also removed most of the community features that have turned the platform into more than a simple marketplace. Forums, the Workshop, the Broadcast tab, and more are entirely excluded, with the only key commenting feature still available being User Reviews. 

Most of those community features were never available on any version of Steam accessible in China unless you had access to a VPN, according to PC Gamer

As a whole, Steam China is operating as a separate version of the platform that will only feature approved games in the Chinese market. But normal Steam accounts will still work on the China and international versions, with games being cross-buy as long as they’re available. 

As industry insider Daniel Ahmad points out, Chinese players can still easily access the international version of Steam. But with how China’s government has been cracking down on digital marketplaces that offer unlicensed content, access might be officially blocked soon.