Gears 5 is out now, the long-awaited next numbered entry in Microsoft’s best-selling franchise – and to everyone’s great astonishment, not only is out on PC at the same time as the Xbox One version, it’s also on Steam. At least, that’s true for most regions, as it turns out that the Steam version of Gears 5 has been banned in China.
This is according to ‘TC Octus’, Senior Community Manager at The Coalition, who posted a message on the Steam forums titled “Important notice for Chinese players”. The developer says that there is “a specific issue” that is preventing Gears 5 players in China from “accessing the complete game”.
Although there is no clarification as to what this “issue” is that’s stopping Chinese players from playing Gears 5 on Steam, The Coalition says that it has to “suspend future sales and pre-orders, as well as the game’s release, in China at this time.” The team are apparently “investigating” the issue and will provide updates when there is more to share.
There is no mention of why Gears 5 has been pulled in China, nor any confirmation when the developer or Steam expects the game to return to sale. We would assume that this issue also applies to the Microsoft Store version, although it is unclear if that version is even available in China. For now at least, anyone in China wanting to play Gears 5 is out of luck until an update comes through.
As can be expected, there are a lot of very unhappy players flooding the Steam forums and social media at this point – with a lot of extreme speculation going on as to what the “specific issue” that got Gears 5 pulled from sale actually is. While it’s possible that Microsoft has ran afoul of the Chinese government’s censorship bureau, right now there’s no confirmation of anything – so Chinese Gears of War fans will simply have to wait.
It’s nonetheless disappointing that such a major game should run into issues when Steam is gearing up to make headway into the Chinese market – so hopefully these issues will be avoided when Steam China properly launches.