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Government regulation means Steam China will be a curated platform

Valve’s most anything goes approach to managing a storefront won’t carry over to the recently announced Steam.

“The way we operate Steam worldwide, where it's really developers coming to us, they sign up, they ship their game, you just can't have that same operation here.”

- Valve's DJ Powers discusses differences between Steam China and existing versions of Steam.

The version of Steam that launches in China will take a more curated approach to its game library, a departure from the existing platform made necessary by China’s strict regulations on video games.

Valve’s DJ Powers offered more details on the recent announcement in an interview with Eurogamer, touching on everything from features it hopes to add to how the official launch will impact the version of Steam already unofficially available to Chinese players.

On the topic of curation, Powers tells Eurogamer that a more hands-on approach is necessary for the platform to exist alongside China’s infamously strict rules about game content. Valve spins this as a plus in the interview, saying that the process means Steam China users can download games from local servers and have a "high-quality experience" all around. 

“I mean obviously it's a different market, where, there's just a process that games have to go through,” he says. “The way we operate Steam worldwide, where it's really developers coming to us, they sign up, they ship their game, you just can't have that same operation here. And so we're working with the processes in place and we'll get as many games on the platform as we can, but there's just a limit, and by definition kind of has to be a little more curated. “

The entire process is also quietly complicated by the international version of Steam already (unofficially) available in China, a version that features games not yet approved through official channels.

Powers promises that, for games supported on Steam China, players will be able to import their save data and purchases from Steam global. 

Valve doesn’t have plans to shut down China’s access to Steam global either, though whether the storefront remains accessible may ultimately be out of the company’s hands. 

In response to two consecutive questions about what will happen to the international platform once Steam China launches, Powers twice answers: “Nothing’ll change about Steam global,” though he notes that “externalities” outside of Valve’s control are always a factor. 

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