Reports are going around about Malaysian gamers having difficulty accessing the Steam store page through a standard web browser at the moment. The reason for this is beyond anything that you would expect, and is reminiscent to the sort of public blow-back the gaming industry used to receive during the moral panics of the 1990s.
PC Gamer is reporting that the Malaysian government originally blocked all access to Steam. You couldn't access the web page, you couldn't get to the storefront, you couldn't even play your Steam games. All IP addresses in Malaysia were blocked from accessing the Steam store. Why? Because of a fighting game.
PQube and Digital Crafter recently released Fight of Gods into the Early Access on Steam. The game features various deities from different religions fighting in a back-and-forth duel, not unlike King of Fighters or Mortal Kombat. The inclusion of renown figures such as Jesus of Nazareth and Buddha has sparked outrage from various religious institutions, and in the case of Malaysia, the government.
The officials in Malaysia took serious offense to Fight of Gods and in response had tall of Steam blocked from access by Malaysians living in the country. Valve apparently managed to smooth over some of the consternation and managed to get the Steam up and running again for those who already have the client and their games installed. So if you live in Malaysia you can now access your library once again.
Valve explained to PC Gamer that its still working to get all the blocks removed from the Steam store, and are complying with the Malaysian government. Additionally, Valve had Fight of Gods removed from the Malaysian Steam store, and the app is completely blocked from being accessed in the country.
Some other religious statesmen have also come out to publicly condemn Fight of Gods, claiming that it gives a negative impression of religion to kids and teenagers.
The game itself features deities like Jesus, Buddha, Odin, and Athena fighting across various arenas themed after locations featured in religious literature. Other characters in the game include prophets such as Moses and iconic figures of lore such as Zeus.
While gamers have taken the title in stride and have joked about other deities and religious figures they would like to see implemented into the game, the Malaysian government has taken the game as an offense to their culture.
Some have likened it to when the government got involved with games like Night Trap and Mortal Kombat back in the early 1990s, which eventually resulted in the formation of ratings boards like the ESRB and PEGI. The big difference was that in Mortal Kombat, the game featured a lot of gore and blood, but Fight of Gods contains no blood or gore. It's a fairly tame fighting game, especially compared to high-impact fighters like Mortal Kombat X.
Nevertheless, Valve has had to work hard to get around the government censorship and this is just during the game's Early Access run. It definitely makes you wonder if Fight of Gods will even make it to a full release if the negative press and blow-back from the government keeps up?