In July, online gaming company Roblox marked the beginning of a bragging attempt to open up the Chinese market by hiring dancers in cosplay costumes at the opening ceremony in Shanghai. At that time, the company declared that it would provide new users with an “infinite world” with “hyper digital”.
Four months later, Roblox is struggling to make a dent in China in the face of regulatory barriers and fierce competition.
Neil Camping, Head of Technology Research at Mirabeau Securities, said: He believes the August move in Beijing, which restricted young people to play between 8 pm and 9 pm on Fridays, weekends and public holidays, has hit the company’s growth plans.
The partnership between Roblox and Tencent Holdings has enabled entry into China and formed an important part of the March blockbuster initial public offering prospectus. However, the Chinese version of the platform known to users as “Luobulesi” is not included in the top 100 games played on the Chinese game portal TapTap at the time of its release.
Roblox co-founder and CEO David Baszucki told investors last week that the company has a “super long-term view” in China.[ing] “Brown our heads” in the face of regulatory challenges. The company declined to comment on this work.
Roblox’s entry was further complicated by the decision to establish a brand as an educational platform to appeal to Chinese parents, placing the company at the crossroads of the gaming and online education industries under regulatory attacks.
“Roblox in China doesn’t work as a social platform, but it’s designed as an educational tool that complements school education,” said Chenyu Cui, a game analyst at research firm Omdia. “Education has caught the eye of the authorities, so its future is uncertain.”
Luobulesi to gain traction against established competitors in the Chinese market, despite achieving explosive growth during the pandemic as children spend more time at home I’m fighting. Roblox hasn’t disclosed how many of its 47.3 million daily active users worldwide are coming from China, but Tuesday’s investor presentation shows sparse use on the mainland. Was shown.
Daniel Ahmad, Senior Analyst at Niko Partners, a video game research firm, said: “Tencent needs to step up its marketing efforts to improve game operations and drive player growth.”
Minecraft, its sandbox game — a free-form game style with few rules that encourage players to use their imagination — Reached According to a survey by Niko Partners, there are 60 million registered users in the three months since its launch in 2017. Currently, NetEase operates China with more than 400 million registered users.
Meanwhile, Roblox faces intensifying competition with Reworld, a Chinese platform that hosts user-created games on its platform. Reworld welcomed the investment from ByteDance, the owner of TikTok. This is to move to the game to challenge Tencent’s dominance in the industry. This move has triggered a bidding war between two Internet giants targeting independent game developers in China. This has been chilling since the government tightened game restrictions.
CEO Craig Donato will invest on Tuesday as Roblox will help developers localize their games for new markets and provide translation services that are “more appealing and compelling to local viewers.” I told my house.
But in China, developers face the additional complexity of avoiding it. Long laundry list The number of banned materials, such as “no very scary skeletons and zombies”, “underages hate school and do not encourage them to quit”, and no mention of Taiwan as another country. The Chinese version of the Roblox game includes safety features such as warning signs that tell players not to imitate avatars jumping off high platforms.
Oscar, the creator of the “Midnight Racing: Tokyo” game, which has been played over 33 million times, refused to make a version for mainland China due to the high cost of localization and “heavy censorship.” Greatly limits your creativity. ”
Ahmad also said that Roblox’s user-generated content model is at high risk of being punished by regulatory agencies.
“A lot of people [the] The discontinued feature is common sense, already part of Roblox’s terms, and has very few issues. In addition, there is a risk that the game can be stopped at any time, “Oscar said.
However, James Onen, the developer of the ragdoll simulator game, said his team “had no problems localizing to China.” “We didn’t have to make many changes. Our main audience is children, so censorship and drinking of corpses is not an issue,” he said.
Roblox isn’t turning his back on China, market 720 million gamers attended, but instead started talking about growth opportunities in Japan and Indonesia. “We are just getting started in the Asia Pacific region,” said Donato.
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