Epic Games store ‘quietly launched in China’

Digital distribution platform taps into $15 billion marketplace

Image: Reddit

The Epic Games store has reportedly launched under the radar in mainland China.

Chinese news site Techweb claims the digital distribution platform began selling games in China on May 14.

Details about the platform’s Chinese launch are currently sketchy, seemingly because Epic wants it that way — reached for comment, the Fortnite maker told PCGamesN, “we look at Epic Games store as a global service and want to make it available to players in every region we can.”

Foreign game firms typically need to navigate complex regulations in order to release their products in China, with approval required from the government, and it’s been speculated that the lack of fanfare surrounding the Epic Games store’s launch could be tied to this.

Rival digital distribution platform Steam operates in China without official government approval in what’s known as a legal grey area, something Epic Games store GM Steve Allison touched on at GDC in March when asked why Epic’s marketplace wasn’t yet available in the country.

“The way our competitor operates offshore is not legal in China, and they don’t have an office in China,” he said, according to VentureBeat.

“We have employees there, so we are very sensitive to what is legal and what is not — more for the benefit and safety of our staff,” Allison added. “We just don’t want to take any risks that can put them in any legal fire.”

Market research firm Niko Partners estimates China’s domestic PC online game market generated $15.21 billion in revenue in 2018.