China is notoriously strict about the kinds of video games it lets its citizens play, offering a version of Steam that only includes 103 government-approved titles. Since the Chinese version of Steam is extremely limited compared to other versions, some users in China go out of their way to access the global version of Steam to play games. However, it seems as though the global version of Steam may have been outright banned by the Chinese government.
As reported by publications TheGamer and The Verge, the global version Steam is currently inaccessible in China. It’s unclear if the Chinese government has actually banned the global version of Steam, if it has been pulled down temporarily on purpose for some other reason, or if the services have just been taken down through some kind of DNS attack, but more information should come to light shortly.
It wouldn’t be all that surprising if it comes out that China officially banned Steam, as the government has banned numerous video games and services over the years and has regulated how people play video games in a variety of other ways as well. This year alone has seen China make moves to ban PUBG eSports as well as limit the amount of time minors in the country can spend playing video games.
Earlier this year, China started to enforce strict new rules that said minors could only play video games three hours per week, and not only that, but they were only able to play games during specific timeframes. The justification by the Chinese government is that these restrictions will help combat video game addiction in kids and teenagers.
It’s possible that the global version of Steam will come back online in China soon, but it’s also possible that it will stay banned. After all, there’s a Chinese version of Steam available, and there have been times when China has even issued bans on things that have supposedly stuck to its guidelines, like when it banned Fortnite despite Epic Games providing a version of the popular battle royale that was said to follow all of the government’s rules about gaming.
If the China Steam ban is real, more information should come to light shortly, and the same goes for if this is a DNS attack and not an outright ban from the Chinese government. We will update this article once some clarification on the situation has been provided.
Source: The Gamer, The Verge