PETALING JAYA – Gamers across the country were shocked to discover the website of Steam, the popular gaming provider, as well as its online store blocked by the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) today.
Many took to Twitter to post messages objecting to the action and to voice their frustrations.
The move came after a call by Communications and Multimedia Minister Salleh Said Keruak for the provider of the video game “Fight of Gods” to disable downloads for Malaysian users within 24 hours, failing which action would be taken.
In a statement today, Salleh said the website of Steam was blocked after they failed to comply with the 24-hour ultimatum issued yesterday.
“This action is necessary to protect the users and to prevent untoward incidents.
“(To ensure) solidarity, harmony and the well-being of the multiracial 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,” he said.
The new game, available through Steam, has created controversy as it features Jesus Christ and Buddha among its stable of “fighters”.
Local university student Awang Ilyas Awang Mahsen, an avid gamer, told FMT that while games that had already been purchased were still playable, Steam users were unable to access community pages or even buy new games.
“Game servers are on separate domains. So you can still play your old games, but you just can’t buy new ones,” he said.
It was likely that in-game purchases had not been affected but those looking to buy downloadable content or expansion packs for their games may not be able to do so.
“Fight of Gods” was inspired by one-on-one brawling games such as Street Fighter, with players controlling their “fighter” to defeat their opponent’s “fighter”.
Developed by Digital Crafter from Taiwan, the game had left religious leaders and gaming fans offended by the depiction of Jesus and Buddha in acts of violence.
The growing popularity of the game also outraged religious groups in the country.
Various religious figures have commented against the game, calling on the government to ban it.