PC gamers are rejoicing in China following news that Steam, the world’s biggest PC game store, has added Chinese RMB as an official currency to their platform alongside Hong Kong Dollar, Taiwan Dollar and the Indian Rupee. It comes at a time when China is seeing a massive upsurge in mobile gaming, though revenue figures show that PC still remains dominant in total profits.
While Steam was already supported by Alipay in China, players were unable to pay for the service without an Alipay wallet unless they had a foreign credit card. The latest change also brings in a lower regional pricing for China, which means gamers will pay less. Previously, credits from Steam’s Russian store were openly traded on Taobao due to their reduced pricing model, now China has a similar discount.
Steam is an online PC game store owned by Valve who made the highly popular Half Life series as well as Portal 1 and Portal 2. The store also contains games developed by other popular top-tier companies including GTA 5 and Metal Gear Solid V. The service also allows players to add and swap game modifications, with an active community on the platform also building game-centric groups.
Back in September this year, Valve released their plans to extend into more currencies, including several of the Asian currencies, to add to the existing 14 currencies already supported outside the U.S.
With the new move, Chinese gamers can easily top up and pay in RMB while their current USD balance will be converted to RMB at the rate of 1:5. However, the biggest treat Chinese gamers will get is the cheap regional price.
For many games the sale price will be cut in half, including the upcoming Fallout 4 priced at 199 RMB (down to $31 from $60), Grand Theft Auto 5 at 189 RMB (down to $30 from $60) and Batman Arkham Knight at 133 RMB (down to $21 from $50 ). Ubisoft’s games however remain almost level with the US store prices.
It’s a good news for Chinese gamers who are enjoying more freedoms in gaming after the the government lifting the game console ban earlier this year. Some PC and console games remain banned, though the commercial opportunities for local and foreign developers in China are helping sway government opinion.