Valve may release a China-specific version of Steam on February 9th

Players in China will reportedly need the client to play "Dota 2" and "CS:GO."

Igor Bonifacic / Engadget

Steam China will enter public beta on February 9th, according to gaming industry analyst Daniel Ahmad. The client will only be available in China and only include games approved by the country’s government. Dota 2 and CS:GO will be among the first titles Valve will offer through Steam China, and players in China will reportedly need to sign up for the platform to play those games moving forward.

Valve has been working on Steam China with Chinese publisher Perfect World since 2018, and at the start of the year, it said it would launch the software in early 2021. What this release will mean for the future of the international version of Steam in China remains to be seen.

According to Ahmad, current Steam accounts will work with both versions of the software, as will most games — provided there’s a release of the title made specifically for the Chinese market. As things stand, it’s still possible to access the international client in China “with no issues,” but that could change if the country decides to ban it.

If that were to happen, players would lose access to countless unlicensed games. And it’s not like that’s an unfounded fear either. At the end of last year, Apple removed approximately 39,000 games from the App Store in China for not having an International Standard Book Number (ISBN) from the Chinese government. We’ve reached out to Valve for confirmation on the release date, and we’ll update this article when we hear back from the company.