Why is Steam Blocked in Vietnam? Government Shares Reason

Steam Blocked in Vietnam, Says Le Quang Tu Do

A game publisher in Vietnam is currently receiving negative reactions from gamers. Apparently, Steam players can’t access the Steam online store, starting from May 7 of this year.

  • Vietnamese users are unable to purchase games but can still play games from their Steam library.
  • Some users from Vietnam reported that they couldn’t access the Steam platform at all.

Why can’t Vietnam access the Steam Store?

Reports say that a major game publisher in Vietnam has been receiving negative feedback from Steam users. The publisher’s fan page has been flooded with negative comments and reactions, leading the management to block and limit comments on recent posts.

The Vietnamese government reportedly blocked Steam for refusal to comply with local authorities’ conditions. According to Le Quang Tu Do (PTTH & MIC, Ministry of Information and Communications), “Most platforms cooperate with authorities and comply with local laws. However, our agency has contacted Steam many times, but the platform never responded, and therefore it was blocked.”

According to rumors, a game publisher had been falsely accusing Steam of selling ‘illegal and cracked’ games. A few days before Steam was blocked in Vietnam, a specific payment method was removed.

It is worth mentioning that Steam is not the only platform that has been blocked in Vietnam. The main issue here is the unlicensed releases across different platforms that were previously available in the country.

Le Quang Tu Do also stated, “Most other platforms, when requested, comply and coordinate with the authorities. As for Steam, the Department has contacted them many times but has not received a response, so it needs to be stopped.”

How publishers earn by releasing games

Before a game enters a specific country, a publisher must get the ‘publishing rights’ to games that are looking to enter a specific market (in this case, Vietnam). However, most games published usually have game-breaking microtransactions.

This simply means some games (usually free MMORPGs) require players to keep topping up their accounts for some cosmetics or equipment upgrades only available through microtransactions. Publishers then usually have a commission based on player spending. Other ways are:

  • Game Sales
  • DLC (Downloadable Content)
  • Season Passes
  • Subscriptions
  • Advertising
  • Merchandising
  • Partnerships and Sponsorships
  • Crowdfunding

Other platforms/developers affected by requested licenses

  • Gameloop
  • Roblox Corporation
  • Netflix Games (removed)

Gamers from Vietnam will just have to wait for further updates on this situation. As reported midway through last month, Steam had been addressing issues involving fair play policies. Users were required to create a Sony account to link with Ghost of Tsushima and Helldivers 2, which affected different countries. This policy was eventually canceled due to complaints about unplayable games.

The situation between the Vietnamese government and Steam remains unresolved, leaving Vietnamese gamers in a wait-and-see situation. I will update this article in the coming days as more information from Steam Vietnam becomes available.

Possible workarounds to access Steam in Vietnam (Use at Your Own Risk)

Disclaimer: Using a VPN to access region-locked content may violate the terms of service of both the VPN provider and the platform you are trying to access (Steam, in this case).

Here are some other things to consider, but be aware these might also violate Steam’s terms of service:

  • Changing your Steam store country w/ VPN (This might not be allowed): Working for some users, but pricing may differ, and account security may be at risk.
  • Using cloud gaming services (if available): If cloud gaming services like GeForce Now or Shadow are available in Vietnam and offer Steam games, you might be able to use those to play games.

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