Valve forges deal to launch its popular gaming platform Steam in China

Key Points
  • Valve said it was partnering with Chinese developer Perfect World to establish Steam China.
  • The two firms have worked together previously to distribute Valve games in China.
  • An official move to China would see Steam compete directly with Tencent.
Gabe Newell, right, co-founder of video game developer and distributor Valve.
Ethan Miller | Getty Images

U.S.-based firm Valve partnered with Chinese developer Perfect World to launch its popular online PC games store Steam in China.

The company, known for popular titles like "Half-Life" and "Left 4 Dead," announced Monday that it will establish a new company called Steam China to bring its games and other products to the world's second-largest economy.

Valve and Shanghai-based Perfect World have collaborated in the past to distribute two Valve games, "Dota 2" and "Counter-Strike: Global Offensive," in China. The firms did not provide a launch date for this new China unit.

Valve and Perfect World announced the tie-up as major console companies including Microsoft and Sony are pitching their new games at E3, the biggest trade show of the year for the industry.

China is a huge market for video games. It is expected to account for a quarter of all global game revenues, bringing in $37.9 billion this year, according to a forecast by market research firm Newzoo. PC gaming also generates massive revenues, according to Newzoo, which predicted the sector will bring in $32.9 billion globally this year, compared to the $34.6 billion expected to come from consoles.

An official move to China would see Steam compete directly with Tencent, which posted a first-quarter beat last month on the back of strong revenues from games. The company saw mobile game sales jump, with revenues up 68 percent year-on-year to 21.7 billion Chinese yuan ($3.4 billion). Tencent has its own Steam-like PC games distribution platform called WeGame.

Last year, Valve revealed it had 33 million daily active users playing Steam games, and 67 million monthly active users. It said that the U.S. accounted for 34 percent of Steam sales, while Asia accounted for 17 percent of sales.