Epic lifted the block in Indonesia after registering with the government
Epic Games was briefly blocked from the world’s fourth most populous country, but on Tuesday complied with Indonesia‘s requirement to register with its Ministry of Information.
The Cary-based Fortnite creator has complied with an Indonesian law that some internet rights groups have called invasive.
For more than a week, the archipelago nation of Indonesia had blocked access for its 270 million citizens to Epic’s distribution platform, the Epic Games Store, due to the government’s failure to comply. of an Indonesian law requiring foreign private electronic system operators to register with the government. .
Indonesia, located in Southeast Asia, had given companies until July 29 to register with its Ministry of Communication and Information, known as KOMINFO, after which it began to block unregistered sites. Tech giants like Google, Apple and Meta (which owns Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp) each registered day before the deadlinewhile others like Yahoo and PayPal registered after the deadline and had their websites unblocked.
Epic Games Store rival Steam also registered with KOMINFO after the deadline and had his block lifted several days ago.
On August 8, KOMINFO spokesperson Gok Suan Simanungkalit confirmed to The News & Observer that Epic Games was still stuck in the country due to its inability to register. But on Tuesday, the day after Epic staff returned from a company-wide two-week summer hiatus, the game company rsaved the Epic Games Store with COMINFO.
Internet rights groups blasted Indonesia’s registration law, which could force companies to release user data and remove any content deemed by the government to be “threatening public order”. According to Freedom House, which rates countries on their access to civil liberties and political rightsIndonesia is considered “partially free” when it comes to democracy and internet freedom.
Epic Games did not respond to multiple emails from The News & Observer asking why it hadn’t registered sooner and what it thought of Indonesia’s registration requirement.
The gaming titan reportedly worth $31.5 billion has expressed support for political discourse in recent years. In 2019, Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney publicly pledged to protect the political speech of Hong Kong gamers protesting against the Chinese government, posting on his personal Twitter account that “Epic supports gamers’ rights and the creators of Fortnite to talk about politics and people”. rights.”
And the company has demonstrated its appetite for conflict, having sued Apple and Google in 2020 over alleged anti-trust violations.
Frustrated Fortnite fans
Since Sweeney started the company in 1991, Epic has had a number of successes, none greater than Fortnite in 2017. At any given time, about three million people all over the world are playing it. Fortnite is free to play, but players make in-game purchases to upgrade things like their outfits, weapons, and even dance moves. Following the wild popularity of the game, Epic launched its own distribution platform, Epic Games Store.
The Epic Games Store offers more than Fortnite. Through the platform, players can access both games developed by Epic and others for which it holds the distribution rights.
In Indonesia, many players had expressed their frustration with the blocking on Twitter, pointing the finger at Epic and their government. On Tuesday, some celebrated the lifting of the ban.
But it may never have been a total blockage: Many Indonesians had shared online that they had circumvented their government’s restriction by accessing the Epic Games Store via a virtual private network, or VPN.
This story was produced with the financial support of a coalition of partners led by Innovate Raleigh through an independent journalism grant program. The N&O retains full editorial control of the work.
This story was originally published August 9, 2022 12:39 p.m.