Gaming platform Steam still isn’t officially available in China, but it continues to be hugely popular in the country — and increasingly China-developed titles are rising in the most-played charts, bringing them to global prominence.
Steam creators Valve are working on a China launch for the platform in partnership with Shanghai company Perfect World, but there’s still not been any officially confirmed release date. In the meantime, Steam continues to operate in something of a legal gray area in the country, but moves such as the recent decision to apparently restrict users in China from accessing “adult-only content” show it’s prepping to comply with local regulations.
In the meantime, users in China continue to help propel Chinese developed games into Steam’s performance charts alongside the likes of PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds and Monster Hunter. The games are then seemingly gaining traction with international audiences too — as recent weeks have shown. Here’s a look at three of the most popular China-produced titles on Steam right now, all released in the past month:
Something of an unlikely hit this one, but Chinese Parents is kind of a fascinating concept. Basically, you role play as a Chinese child attempting to navigate the treacherous path of adolescence, keeping your Tiger Mom happy and taking on the notorious gaokao high-school exams without it all driving you crazy. The idea is to live up to your parents’ expectations (by mastering piano or winning academic competitions) without maxing out your stress-o-meter.
Created by Shanghai-based indie publisher Coconut Island Games, Chinese Parents was released last month and doesn’t yet support English language, but it’s still performed strongly on Steam’s charts.
Tencent might be struggling with gaming regulators at home (with the FT reporting that authorities are unlikely to approve any new titles until next year), but it’s nevertheless found a hit on Steam with battle royale shooter Ring of Elysium.
Stranded on a mountain with a huge snowstorm incoming, your aim is to make it to work with other players to make it to a rescue flight which only has four spaces on it. Unsurprisingly, it’s been dubbed “a free to play PUBG” in some quarters, with Tencent waiving any fee while the game is in an early access testing phase. Perhaps more than the other two on this list, this game seems set for some serious crossover appeal outside of Chinese players, with European servers and the support of more languages reportedly on the way soon.
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Shortly after its release, The Scroll of Taiwu leapt to second place in Steam’s global best seller chart, behind the phenomenon that is PUBG. According to the official description, it’s “an indie game based on Chinese mythology and Wuxia tales. You will play as a ‘successor of Taiwu’ in a fictional universe, defeating your greatest enemy under the effort and sacrifice of many generations and change the fate of humankind.”
What makes this title so interesting is that it was developed by an “amateur coder” based in Kunming, as this in-depth profile from the South China Morning Post explains. Having racked up downloads of 100,000 in its first three days, the SCMP piece notes that The Scroll of Taiwu is “on track to break sales records”.
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