Wed, 19 Jan 2022

Did China ban Steam on Christmas

RT.com
29 Dec 2021, 04:12 GMT+10

Conflicting reports coming out of China as Steam becomes unavailable for some

Amid China's tough stance on the video game industry, many users couldn?t access the international version of the gaming platform Steam around Christmas Day, leading many to believe it might have been banned.

  • What happened to Steam in China?

    The first reports of Steam's international version going down in China came on December 25, with many players saying they were suddenly unable to access the servers for several hours while the onshore version - Steam China- was still working fine. Without any official comment, people were left to speculate as to why and many suspected the platform had been banned throughout the country.

    There are currently two versions of Steam available in China, Steam Global and Steam China - which was launched back in February and was developed specifically for the Chinese market in consideration of their strict guidelines. At the moment, Steam China only offers 103 games, compared to the 110,000+ games available on the global version. Besides having a limited number of games, it also lacks many of the features available in the international version, such as community forums, Steam Workshop, Community Market, screenshots, game guides and more.

  • So did the ban happen or not?

    However, there have been conflicting reports coming in from Chinese players since the news initially broke, as some are apparently still able to access the international version of Steam. Some now believe that the cause for the connection issues was actually a DNS attack.

    A DNS attack essentially means that someone has hacked the Domain Name System, forcing it to return a different result, meaning users might not be able to access a certain domain or could be redirected to a different one.

    Ultimately, it's still unclear what caused the connection issues for some Chinese players, but there doesn't seem to be any conclusive indication of a nationwide ban. Neither the Chinese government nor Steam's developer, Valve, has given an official statement on the status of Steam Global or any upcoming changes.

  • China has strict video game guidelines

    China has recently been taking a tougher approach to video games, as players are now required to pass ID checks to play games and must use facial recognition technology and their real names to gain internet access.

    Additionally, Chinese government authorities have introduced a number of guidelines for games sold in the country, such as banning the glorification of foreign military, encouraging superstition, and becoming or defeating gods. Games are also not allowed to feature gay or effeminate men or include smoking, drinking, or violence, among other things.

  • What do users think?

    Given the context, many concluded the sudden blockage of Steam Global was the result of a government ban, believing it to be the next logical step in China's crackdown on games. Banned or not, the public's reaction can be summarized as 'confused, but not surprised,' and is perhaps best summarized by this Twitter thread by Chinese-language user David Frank, translated into English on gamedeveloper.com:

    "The developers who said 'Steam was blocked in China' and the developers who said 'Steam was not blocked' both carefully deleted their original Tweets, because they both didn't have a full picture of what is happening ... I see you now finally understand the mood of Chinese netizens and the game industry...

    Yes, there may be more than one reason why this is happening. Saying no to Xmas? Banning all games without a government license? Valve isn't trying to appeal to the Chinese government enough? Perfect World just sold its U.S. subsidiaries?

    But all of the above is not the point. What's important is that there is nothing that can be certain in this place. And there are no remedies or systems of appeal that can help you if anything happens. What about Steam? When will it go back to normal? That's just one of the perpetually repeating phenomena here."

  • (RT.com)

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