Video gaming
Get more with myNEWS
A personalised news feed of stories that matter to you
Learn more
Steam is a popular platform for gamers in China. (Picture: Steam/Valve)

Simplified Chinese is now the most used language on Steam

Gamers in mainland China go to Valve’s popular online store to play uncensored games

Video gaming
This article originally appeared on ABACUS
Simplified Chinese was the most popular language on Steam in December, according to the popular online game store’s latest monthly survey. The result, first spotted by PC Gamer, shows that people using simplified Chinese characters made up nearly 38% of those surveyed. The characters are most widely used in mainland China, as opposed to traditional Chinese characters more widely used in other areas like Hong Kong and Taiwan. Steam differentiates between the two in its languages section, with traditional Chinese being used by just 0.85% of people surveyed.
This is the first time simplified Chinese has trumped English as the most-used language since Steam announced fixes to its survey methodology in May 2018. Before the repair, the platform overcounted Steam usage in cyber cafes in Asia, resulting in a surge in the use of simplified Chinese. We reached out to Valve to confirm the accuracy of the latest survey but haven’t received a response.
The international version of Steam is popular in China because it operates in a legal gray area, allowing Chinese gamers to play uncensored games that aren’t officially available in the country. The platform accepts major Chinese payment options WeChat Pay and Alipay, and it recently ran sales for Singles’ Day.


Purchase the China AI Report 2020 brought to you by SCMP Research and enjoy a 20% discount (original price US$400). This 60-page all new intelligence report gives you first-hand insights and analysis into the latest industry developments and intelligence about China AI. Get exclusive access to our webinars for continuous learning, and interact with China AI executives in live Q&A. Offer valid until 31 March 2020.