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China Has Its Own Steam: What Does It Mean?

16 Feb. 2021

Steam and Perfect World have released a local client for China. You might well ask, “So what?” The CS.MONEY blog is here to answer your question. Let’s roll! 

Why do they need a local version?

In China, the video game and entertainment market is strictly regulated. Due to local laws, violence, brutality, and blood are censored. To add to it, certain characters, characters, or even allusions to the real world may get banned too. 

This issue is treated very seriously. It’s not difficult to censor a dozen maps in Counter-Strike: Global Offensive. But take, say, World of Warcraft, whose each addition was scrutinized by officials from the Celestial Empire. Each quest, character line, location, or monster was inspected, and whenever there were any violations found, the developer company would remove them. 

The Fragger sticker, worldwide and Chinese versions

Needless to say, it’s simply impossible to check thousands of games on Steam anytime soon. Because of that, a need for a local version arose. To release it, Valve teamed up with the Chinese company Perfect World.

So what was it like before?

Previously, China-based players were able to use the global version of Steam via VPN. This has caused a number of negative reactions from the community. One of the most vivid examples is the influx of cheaters into PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds

At that time, the game ranked first in terms of online players on Steam — so it obviously wasn’t Western players exclusively whose attention the game attracted. A small fraction of unscrupulous Steam users from China started flagrantly violating the rules. Those violations mostly involved cheats and teaming. And while the first one is self-explanatory, the second is much more curious. 

Teaming is combining several teams in a battle royale. On the PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds subreddit, there were at the time numerous videos featuring dozens of red-shirted players destroying every living thing on the map. No casual player could confront this chaos. 

Note that Chinese players aren’t one of a kind. Teaming is also a thing in APEX Legends and other royal battles. The PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds situation is just a good example. After the Chinese servers were opened, this flow of negativity decreased dramatically, which was a win-win situation. The Chinese didn’t have to use VPN any longer, and the rest of the players were finally free of that mess that had been going on in the matches.  

And what does it mean to players outside China?  

The PUBG situation is more of an exception rather than a rule. China-based Steam users didn’t really stand out from the crowd. Now the local client version, combined with the local version of the game, might well cause an interesting situation. 

Currently, a special offer for new players is active. Namely, each newcomer gets two stickers and graffiti from the new sets. Those are completely new items, and they may also appear in the global version of the game. Rumors have it, it’s going to happen in about a month. 

Perhaps the local and global versions of Counter-Strike: Global Offensive will be separated, even though as of today, they only differ in some graphic details. Yet we assume that the new skins, stickers, and graffiti will be released in both versions. Which means more new stuff! 

Given the release of themed collections lately, including stickers from the Halo and Warhammer 40k universes, as well as collections from new operations, perhaps we should expect a Chinese-style case. Luckily, the Workshop is chock-full of worthy contenders. 

Would you like more Asian-style skins? Tell us in the comments and be sure to share the post with your friends! 

16 Feb. 2021

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