Previously, Valve and their Shanghai-based partner, Perfect World, had announced they were working with the Shanghai government to set up a new China-exclusive version of Steam to meet content regulations. This upcoming version of Steam will reportedly be “almost entirely independent of Steam,” according to a report by Technode.
The new Steam China platform will officially be called “Zhengqi Pingtai”, which translates to “Steam Platform.” Perfect World CEO Xiao Hong explained that the new platform would be specifically “tailored for Chinese users” with “high-speed servers and high-quality operations teams.”
This move enables more flexibility on Valve’s part in terms of keeping Steam going in China, as the Chinese government has enforced more and more rules restricting game content they deem inappropriate. In the past, Steam has come under fire from Chinese regulators for featuring violent and sexually explicit games. The current version of Steam available in China is incredibly limited, as a lot of the content otherwise available in the international version of Steam is blocked or restricted because of the government’s rules. By conforming to their regulations through a separate, independent platform, the rest of Valve’s business won’t be confined to the same restrictions.
Valve is expected to benefit from this move, as statistics have shown that a significant portion of Steam’s user base is in China. By catering directly to them, Valve may be able to further grow their business in China and properly compete with other gaming platforms in the region.
Though it hasn’t been announced when Zhengqi Pingtai will launch, Perfect World has said the first batch of games to release on the platform will consist of around 40 titles, including Valve’s games Dota Underlords and Dota2, which was originally distributed in China by Perfect World. All of the games set to release on Zhengqi Pingtai are already available on the international version of Steam.