It seems that the Steam Community which consists of all community and official content for games on Steam has been blocked in China. According to popular Valve fan site, ValveTime, the Steam Community has been blocked in China. The Steam client and the Steam store, however, still work. The subreddit for China claims this as well.
“Since last Friday i cannot access the steam community pages and I get an error when trying to check my friend activities on the mobile app or trying to access the notification pages. Today as I was going to play some Dota2, as a habit i wanted to check what is on promotion today, but all I got was an error page instead of the 'feature' page. After a few years here I know that sometimes they'll occasionaly block the community pages for a day, but afair it's the first time it's been this long, also instead of slowly have less pages blocked, it's more and more pages being blocked,” Redditor Shawei explains.
In a subsequent post the user states that the Steam 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.”
Others believe it’s just a matter of time before Steam gets blocked completely. Particularly since popular battle royale shooter, PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds (PUBG) is extremely popular in China and is only available on Steam right now. Nearly 40 percent of its user base resides in the country.
“Once Tencent launches their new platform, they will ask Big Brother to block out the competition,” suggests another Redditor.
At the moment though, Steam’s legality in China isn’t completely in the clear.
“Steam currently operates in a grey area in China,” said Daniel Ahmad, an analyst at Niko Partners in conversation with Gamasutra. “This means that Chinese gamers have access to all the games on the Steam library, many of which would be blocked or censored if they were officially released on a different platform.”
It will be interesting to see the fate of Steam particularly with its popularity in emerging markets. Earlier in the year Steam was banned in Malaysia. The Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) blocked Steam for users in the country following the discovery of Fight of Gods - a fighting game where the likes of Buddha and Jesus square off against each other in hand-to-hand combat.