According to a representative of the Cybersecurity Administration of China, the international Steam service is banned in this country because of its involvement in illegal activities. This information comes after Steam became the target of a domain name system attack that took place on December 25. However, the regulator did not specify what illegal activities Steam is entangled in.
Chinese gamers cannot access and use Steam’s global service. Even many users in this country have had their accounts locked for games they have purchased from the international Steam platform. The China-specific version of Steam is still active, but has a very limited number of games, mostly games by Chinese businesses. However, this is still the only “gateway” for gamers if they want to use Steam at this time.
Steam China launched in February 2021 and has only about 100 games licensed by the government. Meanwhile, international Steam has tens of thousands of games.
In China, many game publishing platforms operate in a legal jurisdiction with few restrictions. For example, in August 2021, Beijing enacted a law restricting the amount of time online gaming per week for children under 18 years old, but in September, the country’s media agency confirmed that Steam’s global service was not comply with this provision. Thus, minors can bypass the limit of 3 hours of gaming per week, freely choosing and playing games downloaded from Steam.
The international Steam ban may also be related to China’s recent tightening of policies on online games. In the third quarter of 2021, China implemented a new licensing regulation that made it impossible for a new game to be published for more than 4 months.