The Malaysian government has completely blocked access to Steam after the game Fight of Gods was released into Early Access on the platform recently by Taiwanese developer Digital Crafter. The game is being published by PQube Games, and it features various gods from different religions battling it out using divine powers in hand-to-hand combat.
Malaysian gamers noticed that they could no longer access the Steam store page from a web browser, and began notifying the gaming community about the country-wide ban on the digital storefront via social media.
— Danial Nurakimi (@Fl4ky) September 8, 2017
Apparently the Malaysian government has completely banned access to Steam unless Valve forcibly prevents Malaysians from having access to Fight of Gods. So the choice is either: Valve bans the game from being purchased in Malaysia, or all Malaysians are banned from accessing Steam through a browser.
The issue comes from the depiction of Buddha and other religious figures as pugilists, trading fisticuffs with prophets like Moses and deities like Jesus. The Malaysian government feels the game is highly offensive toward religious figures and religion in general.
Perlis Mufti Datuk Dr Mohd Asri Zainul Abidin told the Malaysian outlet, The Sun Daily, that…
“The government should immediately ban the game or block the download link to avoid the potential of religious tension in the country,”[…] “Any religion and religious leaders who are rational would downright condemn the game, as I’m sure no religion encourages violence and fighting against each other”
Someone should inform Abidin about the Jihad.
Anyway, others in the Malaysian culture and religious departments claimed that the game should either change all the names and likeness of the characters or continue to face censorship, since they feel it’s offensive to religions.
Deputy president over Malaysian Consultative Council, Datuk R.S. Mohan Shan, explained to The Sun Daily that this was about the children, and that the game was a bad influence…
“This is a very sensitive issue, and it is totally not acceptable. We can never agree to such games. The government must take immediate action to ban the game’s sale here,”
“It is also unhealthy for children as they may idolise certain characters in the game they deem them to be more powerful due to the number of victories they score with that character.”
According to Gadgets 360, PQube issued a press statement, stating that they were disappointed with the decision but would be working with Valve to resolve the issue…
“The game is not promoting any religious agenda and is not designed to offend. […]”
“We are disappointed that such freedom of choice is not given to everyone and in particular that the game has been forcibly removed from sale in Malaysia, although no direct communication has been received by us as to the reasons for this. Nevertheless we respect any rules and censorship imposed in any given territory.
“We have reached out to Steam and are working with them to resolve the situation as soon as possible.”
The game also cannot be accessed on the Steam store from a Malaysian IP address. It’s effectively banned in the country. The game is still available for purchase for everyone else outside of Malaysia and you can pick up a copy from Early Access on the Steam store for $7.99.
The developers have been curating community feedback on which characters to add next to the game and what sort of content should be included in the final release. So far the community has unequivocally asked for Mohammad the prophet to be added to the game. One can only imagine how the Muslim community would respond if the prophet Mohammad from the Qur’an appeared in Fight of Gods.
(Thanks for the news tip Lenneth)