Steam Reveals 2021 Roadmap Including Steam China Launch
The update comes as part of a year in review recapping Steam's huge growth through 2020.
2020 was a huge year for gaming platform Steam, which reported a 50% increase in hours played over 2019 in its latest year in review. Now, the company is looking forward to plans for 2021, which include the launch of Steam China with partner Perfect World.
The Steam blog post includes a handful of stats on how the platform grew in 2020, with the pandemic and related lockdowns driving 2.6 million new purchasers per month, a 21.4% increase in games purchased, and 50.7% more hours played than 2019. While it also goes over some of the new features and events Steam introduced over the course of last year, it finishes with a section of more interest--its upcoming plans for 2021.
The first and foremost of these is the launch of Steam China. While Steam is already available as a kind of grey market for gamers in China, the launch of an official Chinese platform will allow Steam to sell games in line with Chinese government regulations.
Chinese gamers aren't thrilled about the news however, as the international Steam client has a much broader selection than would be possible on an officially sanctioned client. Games that are intended for sale in China must apply for a licence before they can be published. In 2020, only 97 foreign games were granted licenses in China.
Steam hasn't elaborated too much on its Steam China plans yet, only saying that the launch is planned for early 2021.
The roadmap for 2021 also mentions improvements to user experience in the Steam client, though no specifics are mentioned other than "filing down the rough edges that most users encounter when interacting with Steam." There's also a refresh for the Steam Mobile app on the way, as well as expansions for the Steam Points program that launched last year.