China has reportedly banned Steam’s global version

The localized version remains useable, however.

Image via Valve

It appears that Steam, Valve’s market-dominating PC gaming platform, has been banned in China as of today. Avid Chinese gamers can at least take solace in the knowledge that the Chinese version of the storefront remains active, but the underwhelming library of just over 100 games may prove little comfort in comparison to the tens of thousands of titles lost.

The news was shared by an anonymous Redditor, among others, early this morning, who discovered that the Steam’s website domain (store.steampowered.com) had been added to the Chinese national ban list, barring entry to the site for anyone using a Chinese ISP. It’s unclear at present why the action has been taken or whether Valve was consulted or warned ahead of time. The Chinese version of Steam (store.steamchina.com) remains unaffected at the time of writing.

There is even a possibility the whole thing may have been an error or a co-ordinated attack: TheGamer’s Stacey Henley updated her story with the caveat, “Some conflicting reports claim this is the result of a DNS attack and not a deliberate ban.” Still, whatever the reason, many Chinese gamers may well find themselves needing to use a VPN to get around the government-imposed firewall.