Epic Games China store quietly launches amidst video game crackdown

The Epic Games China store has tip-toed into availability, finally making the Epic Games store available in mainland China. The momentous occasion was marked by…silence. Why is Epic so quiet about it?

The Epic Games store can be accessed in the mainland and most games on the Epic platform are available for purchase. According to a Reddit user, the site does not accept Chinese credit cards. Instead, local payment methods WeChat and AliPay are the only way to purchase games.

Interestingly, the games in the store appear to be lower-cost than other areas such as North America. The same Reddit user above reported that Borderlands 3 was only listed at $29.99. Additionally, the prices are listed in US dollars instead of yuan.

Epic’s silence around the store opening may seem puzzling, especially considering how enthusiastically they’ve announced new store openings in the past. However, there’s a good reason to keep a low profile. China’s policies on video game approval are strict at best. Even popular services such as Steam are technically not allowed in China, though that hasn’t stopped millions of gamers in China from using it.

Alongside strict gaming and censorship laws, Epic Games faced another dilemma with China. Unlike other competitors, Epic Games has an office within China. Epic Games store boss Steve Allison explained it best at GDC:

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

Despite the billions of dollars that comprise China’s gaming industry, Epic’s concern for employee safety comes first. Keeping the launch relatively under wraps could be their best bet in navigating the legal grey area of China’s video game industry.