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Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Steam service returns to Indonesia, Epic Games Store still blocked

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After being blocked for failing to register with the appropriate authorities, Steam is now back online in Indonesia. Niko Partners analyst Daniel Ahmad reported Steam’s return on Twitter, but said that the Epic Games Store and Origin are still blocked, and there’s no sign of when they’ll return.

Authorities in Indonesia granted themselves the power to force platforms to disclose user data or take down content that “disturbs public order,” and gave companies until July 20 of this year to sign on to the new regulations through the Ministry of Communication and Information Technology, also known as Kominfo. Some did, but many others, including Valve, Epic, Origin, PayPal, Yahoo, and Ubisoft, did not. Thus, they were blocked.

The good news is that Valve has registered with Kominfo and Steam is now officially unblocked and accessible in Indonesia. However, Epic Games Store / Services and EA’s Origin still remained blocked and there is no official confirmation on whether they plan to register yet. https://t.co/0BwK16HpzlAugust 2, 2022

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Anyone’s hope that the loss of Steam might have resulted from a principled stand against over-regulation went out the window when Ahmad reported that Valve had filled out the necessary paperwork, and access to Steam had been returned. The comeback was confirmed by Engadget, which reported that PayPal and Yahoo are back online as well. A separate Reuters report indicated that Facebook parent company Meta, along with Google, Spotify, Netflix, and TikTok have also signed on to the new regulations.

It’s definitely not great when a government decides that it can arbitrarily force the takedown of content it deems unlawful, but the primary backlash in Indonesia appears to have arisen not from the new regulations, but rather the loss of videogame access. In fact, Kominfo actually issued an apology to gamers (Google translated), although it also said that “rules must still be enforced.” Steam is back, in other words, but those new rules that online companies have to play by are clearly here to stay too.

I’ve reached out to Epic Games, Electronic Arts, and Ubisoft to ask about their own efforts to get their services restored in Indonesia, and will update if I receive a reply.

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