Steam, Epic and other digital storefronts are now banned in Indonesia

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Digital storefronts like Steam, Epic Games Store, Origin and others currently banned in Indonesia. The Indonesian government made a requirement that digital companies not registered with the government would not be whitelisted.

Turns out, a lot of the companies weren’t registered with the government.

The Ministry of Communications and Information Technology of the Republic of Indonesia (Kominfo) pushed for regulation against private electronic system providers in late July. According to game industry analysis company Partner Niko Kominfo has four main goals with regulation.

  • Establish a system of all PSEs operating in Indonesia
  • Maintaining Indonesia’s digital space
  • Protecting public access on digital platforms
  • Create a fair system between domestic and foreign PSEs, including in terms of tax collection

There’s something in there that looks like head-cutting toys. If Indonesia is trying to figure out who is selling what, that makes perfect sense.

Somethings like that.

If a company is selling something over the Internet and making enough money in Indonesia to make registration worthwhile, it will likely be on the Indonesian listing. But what if a company determines Indonesia isn’t worth the trouble and they don’t register?

Then it’s actually a list of all the PSEs operating in Indonesia in the future. It’s a small difference, but it seems important.

Why is it important? What could happen?

If Valve decided not to subscribe, just as a hypothetical, then any Steam Indonesia users suddenly couldn’t access their purchased games. That seems to go against Kominfo’s third goal, protecting public access on digital platforms. After all, the public has access. This provision may end up removing such access on any PSE for which you are unable to register.

Likewise, Indonesians who use multiple online services for work, such as streamers, have to cross their fingers for each service to sign up. YouTube is subscribed, but let’s take a quick look List of foreign companies does not show registered Twitch.

And even if Twitch is there, until all the different digital fronts are whitelisted, what is a streamer going to live with?

But let’s ignore the hypothetical for a second. The first thing that came to me was the old argument: physical vs digital. On Steam right now, I have a library of hundreds of titles. I have a dozen settings.

If I lived in Indonesia, I would technically still own them, but I wouldn’t be able to access and play them. The games I own are digital only. Often, fear is a digital store that disappears on its own from the Internet.

Now, there is a new worry: if a country decides to ban shops.

It is not an immediate problem. Odds are that eventually all the big, important companies will sign up and transfer some money to Indonesia for the privilege. Many of them have been and are in the process of making it a reality.

It’s just a nervous look at what might one day happen.

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