November 18 Steam China appears to be hiring on new staff and launching official social media accounts, indicating its launch may be coming soon.
Valve’s Chinese partner Perfect World will help bring Steam to the Chinese market. No launch date has yet been announced, and Valve promises that “no changes are planned for Steam’s existing worldwide operations and services” as a result of the news.
This week, Niko Partners analyst Daniel Ahmad noted that Steam China was hiring up staff, and had launched an official account on Weibo – a micro-blogging site comparable to Twitter.
Steam China will provide Chinese gamers and developers with a new way to access Steam’s selection of games and entertainment. The move represents an extension of the partnership between Valve and Perfect World that began in 2012, when Perfect World’s subsidiaries obtained the licence to operate Dota 2, and later Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, in China.
Robert H. Xiao, Perfect World’s CEO, says the company will introduce more games to China through Steam China, “providing quality content and improving the experience for both gamers and developers.”
Perfect World and Valve will work together to promote the launch, marketing, and “initial game line-up” of Steam China. These are probably pretty fraught decisions – it will be interesting to see how Valve’s recently announced hands-off approach to regulating its library will go down in a country which is notoriously censorious of its media. As that quotation implies, it’s probably safe to assume that Steam China’s library will not reflect that of Steam in the rest of the world.
In June of this year, Valve announced they were working with Perfect World to create an official China version for Steam that would adhere to regulations.
Since then Perfect World has been hiring a number of staff + this week opened an official Weibo.
Release could be soon pic.twitter.com/1umPB0SjIz
— Daniel Ahmad (@ZhugeEX) November 15, 2018
It appears as though we’ll be seeing what Steam China looks like sooner rather than later.