During the past year Steam has seen a huge surge of growth, most of which is thanks to an influx of Chinese users interested in playing games that don't suck. These users have played a huge role in big turnout for games like PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds.
Unfortunately, this golden era for Steam is about to be slowed down by none other than the Chinese government.
A Chinese website tracker reported this morning that China has blocked access to Steam's Community page. The alert reads:
Chinese authorities have blocked access to @steam_games community website. Games can still be played. Likely somebody posted something the authorities found disagreeable. https://t.co/SP4BlVhChJ https://t.co/GBOxYA0Xm6— GreatFire.org (@GreatFireChina) December 18, 2017
Data suggests that 95% of the Steam Community page is now blocked on all devices in China, preventing access to critical platform elements such as screenshots, neverending arguments in the discussion area, and reviews.
China has demonstrated itself to be vehemently opposed to free access of information, going as far as blocking Google, Wikipedia, and Tubgirl. Although there's been no official statement, the Chinese government's disinterest likely was triggered by the freedom of communication on the site, which allows user to write blog posts for anyone to read.
The ban might be even larger than initially realized. Several Chinese gamers are reporting that the mobile app has been broken since the ban went into effect, and apparently only the Steam Store is accessible on desktop. So, you can spend money on stuff and make the Chinese government some tax revenue, but you sure as heck can't talk about it.
"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.", said Shawei, "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."
Several comments have shown up expressing growing frustration among Chinese gamers who have limited access to Western gaming ecosystems.
On the plus side, the community section is no longer overrun by Chinese text that's unreadable by the majority of Steam's audience.