Following the discovery of a game titled, “Fight of Gods”, which stirred up controversy for pitting religious figures Jesus Christ and Gautama Buddha against each other, the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) swiftly denied Malaysians access to the entire Steam store late yesterday.
Note: Steam is an online gaming platform that allows people to buy a game/games and play just about anywhere. It is considered to be the largest digital distribution platform for PC gaming.
Besides Jesus and Buddha, other “Fight of Gods” characters include Japanese sun goddess Amaterasu, Greek Pantheon leader Zeus, Egyptian god of death Anubis, and the Norse god Odin. Fans of the game have also requested for Prophet Muhammad to be included as a playable character.
The MCMC implemented a DNS block to store.steampowered.com, which affected all Malaysians using the TM DNS. Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Minister Datuk Seri Dr Salleh Said Keruak said that the action against Steam was done to protect Malaysians and to prevent untoward incidents.
The block was apparently deployed after Steam failed to comply with the 24-hour ultimatum as the MCMC had contacted Valve (the corportation that owns Steam) to request for “Fight of Gods” to be geoblocked for Malaysians within 24 hours.
Gamers are, of course, unhappy with what they deem an unnecessary move. Both gamers and netizens alike stormed Facebook to condemn the decision to block the entire platform. “So now we don’t even get to decide what offends us?”, said one netizen, while another commented, “I’m wondering where are all the complaints that the game is an insult to religion and a threat to national harmony. Now all I’m seeing is a whole lot of complaints from pissed off gamers.”
“Why block the entire store? Request the game to be unavailable for the Malaysian market,” Facebook user IZ Ham wrote.
However, just a couple of hours ago, the MCMC confirmed that Steam has since been unblocked.
In an official statement on their Facebook page, they wrote wrote, “The platform operators have contacted us and have agreed with the MCMC’s request to block the ‘Fight of Gods’ video game from being downloaded by users in Malaysia. In effect, the MCMC has revoked the block on steampowered.com.”
The MCMC went on to add, “The MCMC is committed to protecting the interests of consumers in Malaysia, and will not compromise with any party that humiliates religious sanctity and inter-racial harmony in the country. The MCMC also wants to remind users to be more cautious and use their discretion when choosing content to access.”