There’s a huge discussion these days about Steam users all over China reporting that all social features on their Steam accounts have been blocked. Apparently, Steam Community is indeed now blocked in China meaning that players can only access their games. Does this have to do with Tencent buying PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds? Will Steam be shut off completely in China?
What does Steam Community include and what are the features that the Chinese users can use now? All social features such as profile, friends, groups, social content, badges, inventory, game hubs (forums/guides/achievements/etc), the workshop, the market, and broadcasting are all disabled, leaving users with a question why. However, there are people reporting that their chat and friending features still work, meaning they can use the matchmaking as you could before.
Daniel Ahmad, an analyst at Niko Partners has told Gamasutra:
“Steam currently operates in a grey area in China. This means that Chinese gamers have access to all the games on the Steam library, many of which would be blocked or censored if they were officially released on a different platform.”
Some months ago, Tencent reportedly bought PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds for China, which currently has more than 40% of the Steam users in the country playing it. Furthermore, 64.3% of the platform users are simplified Chinese speakers so, blocking Steam Community has a vast amount of people dissatisfied. Tencent has previously told Reuters that they want to alter the game to better align with “socialist core values, Chinese traditional culture, and moral rules.”. Could this be a move from Tencent to block out the competition upon doing this? Or is it some government authorized move?
This isn’t the first time Steam gets in trouble in a certain country. Earlier this year the platform was banned in Malaysia when The Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) found out about Fight of Gods – a fighting game where the likes of Buddha and Jesus square off against each other in hand-to-hand combat.