Bad news for Steam fans in China. The distribution platform’s Steam Community website has been blocked by the Chinese government, according to data from GreatFire Analyzer.
GreatFire tracks sites censored and banned by the Chinese government, monitoring how the country’s authorities control internet usage for its citizens. Steam fans are alarmed after the website tweeted that the Steam Community page is inaccessible for Chinese gamers.
“Chinese authorities have blocked access to @steam_games community website,” GreatFire wrote this morning. “Likely somebody posted something the authorities found disagreeable.”
According to GreatFire’s data on the Steam Community page, the website is “95% blocked” in China, with censorship beginning on Dec. 15 and lasting through Dec. 18. The site has largely remained free from censorship over the past few years, with no major incidents on record, so it’s unclear why China is cracking down now.
Granted, the ban doesn’t include the Steam store—just the Steam Community page, where players can chat with one another and talk about the distribution platform’s titles. So gamers can still access their Steam libraries, at least. But it’s still unsettling for China to limit access to Steam’s features, and it’s frustrating many players both living in the country and visiting from overseas.
“Can confirm, in China right now,” one Reddit user wrote. “It’s been banned for like 3 days now. Strangely enough my friends list and chat from the client still loads fine.”
The ban may be more comprehensive than outsiders realize, too. One user claims the Steam mobile app is barely working at all under the ban.
“Besides the last couple of days the only time i constantly needed a VPN on steam was to load the images and videos on greenlight,” an r/China user alleged on Reddit. “The app isn’t working anymore here, only the Steam Guard code showing, anything besides that is either a blank page or an error stating it couldn’t connect.”
Steam isn’t the only service to face regulation from the Chinese government. Playerunknown’s Battlegrounds fans previously feared China would ban PUBG due to its non-socialist values. Chinese publisher Tencent has since unveiled two mobile PUBG games for China, where the game remains popular.