Valve to launch Steam in China

Chinese game company Perfect World has partnered with Valve to launch a localized version of Steam, our sister site is reporting.

The partnership aims to provide Chinese gamers and developers with a new channel to access games and other entertainment products on Steam’s distribution platform. While an agreement between the companies has been signed, a launch date has yet to be announced.

The two companies have worked together since 2012, with Perfect World operating  Counter-Strike: Global Offensive and Dota 2 in the region. Perfect World stated that the launch of Steam in China would not affect its existing Steam operations.

According to the agreement, Perfect World will establish, operate, and promote Steam in Mainland China. It will also be responsible for introducing Steam’s international gaming products to the market and localizing them. Additionally, the company will distribute locally-made games on the platform. Valve will provide software licensing and other technical support for the launch of the services in the country.

In establishing a localized version of Steam, Valve and Perfect World are looking to compete directly with incumbent players. Tencent and NetEase are two of the biggest companies in China’s gaming market. In September 2017, Tencent established WeGame, an online store for video games, which was seen as a move to compete with Steam directly.

Tencent is the biggest gaming company in the world. Last year its “Honour of Kings” was the most profitable game in the world. The company also owns Riot Games (League of Legends) and holds stakes in Activision Blizzard (World of Warcraft, Diablo, Starcraft, and Hearthstone), Supercell (Clash of Clans, Clash Royale), and Epic Games (Fortnite).

Alibaba has also shown its determination in competing with Tencent and NetEase. In April 2018, it signed a deal with Japanese company Hit Point to distribute the company’s popular Travel Frog in China. The company formally established its gaming division after it bought online game company EJoy, a firm founded by former NetEase COO Zhan Zhonghui.