Those who pre-ordered the Ultimate Edition of Gears 5 (or those who have an Xbox Game Pass Ultimate subscription) can play the game since September 6, but the rest will have to wait until Tuesday. However, one country will have to wait even more for The Coalition-developed Gears of War game.
„There is a specific issue with the Gears 5 release in China preventing people from accessing the complete game. Unfortunately, this issue means we have to suspend future sales and pre-orders, as well as the game’s release, in China at this time. We are investigating and will provide an update once we have more information. We appreciate your understanding,” reads an official developer post on the Steam forums.
There is a simple explanation for it, even if the studio, part of the Xbox Game Studios, did not officially say it. Officially, Steam is not available in China. The great Chinese firewall strikes again. They also clamp down on VPNs that Chinese netizens (there are hundreds of millions of them) use to avoid the government filters and access Gabe Newell’s popular digital storefront.
Of course, Valve is working on a solution – Gabe Newell’s team is working together with Perfect World, a significant MMO publisher, on an official, Chinese version of Steam (which would be separated from the international version!) to be available in the Communist country. However, Valve said two weeks ago that they still want the international version to be available in China. It’s not the best idea to get on the wrong side of the party (just look at the developers of Devotion, who had made fun of Xi Jinping, the paramount leader of China, in their game).
Gears 5 is out on September 10 on Xbox One and Windows 10.