Indonesia’s Ministry of Communication and Information – Kominfo – has apologised to gamers after millions of them woke up on Saturday to find that they couldn’t access gaming platforms like Steam and Epic Games.
The search engine Yahoo and payments firm PayPal were also among those who found themselves on the wrong side of the Indonesian internet – an official said the sites were blocked due to a failure to comply with licensing rules.
The country had tweaked the rules in late 2020, giving Indonesian authorities broad powers to force platforms to disclose data of certain users and to take down content deemed unlawful or harmful against public order within four to 24 hours.
Reuters quoted a senior official at Indonesia’s Communications Ministry, Semuel Abrijani Pangerapan, as saying the measures were needed to protect Indonesia’s online users and its digital ecosystem and that authorities would unblock the websites if they comply with the rules.
He also said operators of affected gaming platforms and services like Steam, Dota 2 and Counter-Strike have been communicating with the Indonesian government but as of now, it seems like no resolution has been reached.
Kominfo’s move to block platforms like Steam and Epic Games is significant – the gaming market in Indonesia is the largest in Southeast Asia and worth an estimated US$1.9 billion at the end of 2021.
The move also spells bad news for esports players in the country – Indonesia accounts for an estimated 40% of the region’s 250 million gamers, with Dota 2 being the most popular esports game in the country.
The ban comes at a bad time for Dota 2 players especially – the PGL Arlington Major 2022 kicks off on Thursday and will run until 14 August.
18 teams – including three from Southeast Asia – will be competing for the top spots and a direct invite to The International in October.
*Featured image from Unsplash/@vlbychkov
By Samantha Chan \ 11:00, 1 August 2022