Steam Banned in Vietnam: Why Was Valve’s Platform Blocked?

vietnam building steam logo

For Vietnamese gamers, the first week of May has brought distressing news.

When users woke up on May 7th, they found their access to Steam completely blocked by internet service providers (ISPs) across the country.

While the government has yet to issue an official statement, many media reports shed light on the potential reasons behind this decision.

What Caused the Ban?

The main reason behind Steam’s ban appears to be complaints from local Vietnamese game developers.

According to reports from GamesIndustry.biz, these developers claimed that Steam’s vast library of “uncensored” international games gave it an unfair advantage over domestic games, which are subject to government approval and censorship.

Local studios argued that the lack of regulation on Steam made it impossible for Vietnamese games to compete, essentially threatening the survival of the domestic gaming industry.

They labeled this situation as “an injustice to domestic publishers” and urged authorities to take action.

Why Is Steam’s Unregulated Content a Big Issue in Vietnam?

In Vietnam, games featuring violence, sensitive topics, or adult content must undergo censorship in accordance with local laws.

However, Steam reportedly distributed many violent and adult games …but did not ask permission from Vietnamese authorities.

With no official Steam office or contact in the country, regulators found it challenging to enforce content guidelines on the platform.

As a result, the government appears to have taken the extreme measure of blocking Steam entirely.

The situation mirrors similar instances in other countries, such as China, where Steam faced restrictions and regulatory scrutiny.

In response, Steam launched a separate version tailored specifically for the Chinese market, with a curated selection of games and stringent content controls.

However, such measures often limit access to certain titles and curtail community features, leading to a fragmented user experience.

Currently, neither Vietnamese authorities nor Steam has issued an official statement or explanation, leaving gamers to speculate about the true reasons behind the move.


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