Last August, Perfect World officially unveiled its exclusive Steam platform in china in partnership with V Society, which is not yet online, and on the face of it, the Chinese-only version of Steam may be a good thing, but for Chinese developers who see Steam as a lifeline, Steam’s launch of a Chinese-specific version may actually represent an existential threat.
Independent game developers in China could be put at risk because of Steam’s Chinese-only version, according to a survey bymedia PCGamer, but the point is that tight state regulation makes it almost impossible for small developers to survive in China’s vast gaming industry.
Since it became popular around 2015, more than 30 million Chinese players have been free to visit Steam. This means that Chinese players have unrestricted access to popular games around the world, such as GTA5 and Jedi Survival. For China’s fledgling independent game developers, Steam is more than just a platform to circumvent government censorship and release games directly. Steam is even the foundation on which they depend. No one knows for sure whether the launch of the “steam platform” will keep small independent game developers alive.
In an interview withmedia euronews Eurogamer, V said only that regarding the “steam platform” restrictions, V said “nothing will change” and that their goal was to ensure that players could still use the games in the Steam library they had purchased. But V’s brief and vague statement did not give Chinese developers much assurance.
One anonymous developer told PCGamer: “The steam platform is terrible, it’s terrible. I’m not sure what it will be like, but I hope the players will still be able to access the international version of Steam. “
Another anonymous game developer said: “We wouldn’t have done it without Steam.” I think that may be the case for most developers in China. While some developers are optimistic, the general view of dozens of developers who spoke with PCGamer is that “steam platforms” pose an unnecessary threat to their survival.
If Steam is eventually replaced by a “steam platform”, it will be a huge problem for domestic players, and for many small independent developers, it will be a death sentence. Another anonymous developer told PCGamer: “I dare say that because of Steam, all the indie games in China have survived.” “。
Now, the future of domestic indie games is uncertain. Unless V Society or Perfect World provide sits on specific information, it is hard not to see the “steam platform” as a way for V society to continue operating in China without angering the government.