The Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) has taken the unprecedented move of denying access to the entire Steam store, following the discovery of a controversial fighting game involving religious deities.
It appears that the MCMC has deployed a DNS block to the store.steampowered.com domain, affecting all Malaysians using the TM DNS. Some users trying to access the store on Digi and Maxis have also reported being denied access.
This block may have been the result of a game available on Steam’s Early Access platform called Fight of Gods. It features religious deities such as Odin, Amaterasu, Moses, and Guan Gong in an arcade-style fighting game, but it was the recent additions of characters such as Jesus and Gautama Buddha that raised the eyebrows of the authorities. Fan requests for the Prophet Muhammad to be added in added fuel to the fire.
Earlier today, it was reported that the MCMC has contacted Valve and requested that Fight of Gods be geoblocked for Malaysians within the next 24 hours, or risk further action being taken. This DNS block appears to be that action, although it must be said that it’s a rather crude one, as it denies Malaysians from buying any game on the platform.
That said, you still can play games on Steam; only the store has been blocked.
Nevertheless, the DNS block can be circumvented by switching to Google DNS. On Windows, this is fairly easily done. Follow our step-by-step guide here.
Update: The Communications and Multimedia Minister Salleh Said Keruak has said that the action against Steam was done to protect Malaysians and to prevent untoward incidents. According to the Malay Mail, this latest action was taken because Steam had failed to comply with the 24 hour ultimatum delivered by the ministry yesterday.
(To ensure) solidarity, harmony and wellbeing of the multi-racial and multi-religious people in the country are the main objectives of the government. The government will not compromise with any action that can jeopardise these objectives,” said Salleh.
Update 2: It would appear that Steam has noticed what’s going on and has geo-blocked Fight of Gods. It no longer appears on the Steam store when accessed from Malaysia.
Update 3: Based on the data provided by SteamDB, Valve geo-blocked the game from the Steam Store at around 4pm Friday, Malaysian Time.
Update 4 : Valve has replied to our queries with regards to this issue late last night.
Right now players in Malaysia can access the games they own on Steam, but the Steam Store is being blocked by some local telcos in Malaysia. From reports we are reading, this is due to a single game that conflicts with local laws. We have contacted the developer, removed the game, and are attempting to make contact with the officials in Malaysia to remove the block. We apologize for any inconvenience.
Update 5: MCMC has lifted the DNS block on the Steam store, after the game developer agreed to place a geoblock on the Fight of Gods game. More details, including a statement from the MCMC, can be found here.