In Indonesia, digital storefronts like Steam, Epic Games Store, Origin, and others are currently prohibited. The Indonesian government made it a requirement that digital businesses that had failed to register with the government be protected from being placed on a whitelist.
A whole bunch of businesses didn't register with the government, as it turns out.
In late July, the Ministry of Communication and Information Technology of the Republic of Indonesia (Kominfo) pushed for a regulation against private electronic systems providers. According to games industry analyst Niko Partners, the regulation has four main objectives.
There are a couple of things that seem to be headcratchers in there. If Indonesia is trying to figure out who is selling what, that kind of makes sense.
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It's a different story.
If a business is selling a thing over the internet and making enough money in Indonesia to make registering a worthwhile endeavor, it will most likely find itself on the Indonesian list. But what if a business decides Indonesia isnt worth the hassle, and they do not register?
Then, in reality, this is a list of all Indonesian private enterprises that are operating in the future. Its a minor difference, but it appears to be vital.
Why is this important?What could happen?
Any Indonesian Steam user suddenly cannot access their purchased games if Valve refuses to register, just as a hypothetical. That goes against Kominfo's third objective, protecting public access on digital platforms. After all, the public had access. This regulation might end up removing that access for any PSE that can't be bothered to register.
Indonesians who work with multiple online services for money, like streamers, have to cross their fingers that each one is registered. YouTube is registered, but a quick glance through the foreign company list does not show Twitch signing up.
What is a streamer to do even if Twitch is there, until all the different digital storefronts are whitelisted?
But for a second, ignore the hypotheticals. The first thing that struck me was the age old debate: physical versus digital. At the moment on Steam, I have a library of many hundred titles. I have a dozen installed.
If I lived in Indonesia, I would still own them technically, but I would not be able to access and play them. The games I only own digitally. Usually the fear is that a digital storefront itself vanishes from the internet.
If a country decides to prohibit a store, there's a fresh fresh worry.
It isnt a huge issue. Odds are that all of the big, important companies will eventually register and fork over some money to Indonesia for the privilege. A lot of them are already planning to do it.
It's just a warning sign of what may happen someday.