Roblox shuts down the Chinese version of its iOS and Android app, otherwise known as LuoBuLeSi, just five months after its release in China, according to a report by TechCrunch. The app, which was rolled out as a test in partnership with Chinese game company Tencent, will be rebuilt and possibly re-released in the country at a later date.
Roblox was officially pulled from the app stores on December 8 last year, as announced on a translated version of Roblox china site. The post thanks players for testing the app, saying developers will “continue to optimize the product.”
“Last year we launched Roblox China also known as LuoBuLeSi with a vision to build an immersive virtual universe of 3D experiences in China that we tested and replicated along the way”, Roblox spokesperson James Kay said in a statement: The edge. “It is critical that we make the necessary investments now, including investments in our data architecture, to deliver our long-term vision for LuoBuLeSi.”
As for why the Roblox app has been removed, Kay . told The edge that “some major temporary actions are needed” as the platform prepares to build another version of the app. Kay also hasn’t shared any additional details about when the new version will be released, noting that the company will make the information public when the time comes.
Roblox‘s brief debut in China was not without its challenges – the Financial times reports that the platform appeared to be competing against Chinese competitors, such as the similar ByteDance-owned Reworld. In addition, Roblox faced an even bigger challenge: China itself. Financial times notes that Roblox was subject to Chinese regulatory standards despite marketing itself as an educational game, resulting in the censorship of some of its features.
The closing of Roblox China, albeit temporarily, marks the sudden cessation of yet another popular game in the country. In November, Epic Games concluded a test of: Fortnite in China without much explanation, despite the game undergoing heavy modifications to comply with China’s strict content rules. Even more surprising, the global version of Steam appears to have been banned in China from late December, perhaps to replace the service with the much more limited Chinese version.
In anticipation of all these gaming-related shutdowns, Chinese regulators likened video games to “spiritual opium” and began limiting children’s screen time to just three hours a week. This is in addition to a curfew banning children from gaming between 10 p.m. and 8 a.m., which is intended to combat video game addiction.