Chinese video game behemoth Tencent is looking to take its PC game-selling platform WeGame outside of China and around the world in a move that would solidify a rivalry with Steam.
Tencent’s WeGame operates in a similar fashion to Steam by letting PC players in China purchase and play games through the platform. It doesn’t have nearly as many titles in its library right now, but Tencent’s looking to change that by expanding the platform outside of the game publisher’s home country and into other parts of the world. South China Morning Post (via GamesIndustry.biz) reported that Tencent is now working on an international version of WeGame in Hong Kong, a version that it plans to release overseas.
“The Hong Kong version of WeGame is now under development,” a spokesman for Shenzhen-based Tencent told South China Morning Post on Friday. “This version will be available for overseas users, and we will use this platform to bring more Chinese games to the global market.”
Compared to Steam’s catalog of games that appears as though it’s almost endless, WeGame has around 220 titles. Many of them are Chinese games, though worldwide releases such as Monster Hunter and other series make it to the platform as well. WeGame replaced Tencent Games Platform in 2017 and is Tencent’s answer to Steam that offers similar social and gaming features. With a worldwide release and with the backing of Tencent, an organization that has its hands in all kinds of game distribution deals involving PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, League of Legends, and more, the catalog will inevitably grow.
As for the question of why Tencent decided now of all times to announce that the worldwide version of WeGame is being worked on, it almost certainly has something to do with Valve’s recent announcement that the company would be introducing a Chinese version of Steam to Tencent’s home turf. Gamers in China can use the international version of Steam, though it’s restricted in a variety of ways, but Valve says that there’s definitely a large Chinese following for the platform. A survey conducted by Valve in May showed that more than a quarter of Steam users had their languages set to Simplified Chinese. Valve has partnered with Chinese publisher Perfect World to bring a local version of Steam to the country.
There’s no known release date for the Chinese version of Steam nor is there one for the international version of WeGame.