Steam has finally launched in China, but it appears that the Chinese version of Valve’s digital distribution behemoth is just a pale imitation of its international counterpart. This should be apparent to anyone who visits steamchina.com’s complete catalog, as it only contains a paltry collection of 53 titles. While the Chinese version of Steam does include some notable staples such as Counter-Strike: Global Offensive and Dota 2, most of the other titles appear to be games that only locals would be familiar with.
“Steam China only sells games that have received a government license certifying that they abide by a long and complicated list of restrictions,” PC Gamer noted in its coverage. “That one rule cuts Steam China’s available catalogue of games and DLC down from 21,131 to just 53. It suddenly feels a lot like what Steam was like back around 2010, when its storefront was a list of games hand-picked by Valve.”
Another big difference between Steam and Steam China is that the latter lacks message boards and community features, which means that there’s no quick and centralized way for Chinese users to discuss the merits of a game and whether it has any bugs or errors. PC Gamer points out that Steam reviews did manage to make it into the Chinese version, however.
“What’s interesting is that instead of having two separate review systems for Steam China and Steam’s international version, both clients pull from the same pool of reviews,” the author explained. “Dyson Sphere Program, for example, has over 18,000 positive reviews on Steam China and Steam, which shows just how closely linked parts of these two platforms are despite being mostly separate entities.”