Roblox had to take several steps to comply with Chinese censorship, a new part of leaked internal documents has revealed. The company also expected Tencent to clone the game and create its own version for local audiences.
- Vice got the information from Roblox internal docs posted by a hacker last week.
- The Chinese version of Roblox titled LuoBuLeSi was launched in July 2021. The company needed to host user data on local servers and find a local partner to operate its gaming platform in the country.
- By choosing Tencent as a partner, Roblox expected the game to be hacked and cloned by the Chinese tech giant. “Expect the hack has already started,” reads the 2017 internal presentation. partner.”
- Roblox feared that “hundreds of people” were working to reverse-engineer the game’s code placed on Chinese servers.
- However, there is no direct evidence of Tencent’s intention to clone Roblox.
- On top of that, the documents show the extent of censorship in the Chinese gaming market. Roblox had to ensure that every map created in the game “respects the integrity of the country and does not misrepresent Chinese territory,” including Taiwan.
- UGC experiences must also not misrepresent historical facts and must not include the names or images of Chinese leaders.
- LuoBuLeSi has been closed just five months after its launch, with Roblox stating that it was working on a new version.
- “As is normal for a company entering a new market, we consider the risks and opportunities and plan for them,” a Roblox spokesperson told Vice. “Roblox’s policy is to comply with the laws of the regions in which we operate, including China.”
It should be noted that all game developers, including domestic developers, face similar restrictions in China. The government has been tightening its regulations on the industry for some time, calling on businesses to correctly describe the history of the country and culture and remember a ‘correct set of values’. Last year, Tencent and hundreds of other Chinese studios is committed to self-regulating the industry and fight against online addiction.
Vice’s full report, which contains more information on Roblox’s attempt to enter the Chinese market, can be found here.