Leaked documents show the hoops Roblox jumped through to do business in China

Late June, Blizzard launched just days before the game’s launch in the country, after co-developer NetEase appeared to draw the ire of government censors over an ill-advised social media post. The episode was a reminder of the balancing act that foreign game developers often have to walk to get their games released in China.

Now newly published documents from offer a rare glimpse into the steps some companies will take to comply with China’s censorship laws. The release received an internal presentation created by Roblox in 2017 when the company was working towards entering the Chinese market.

In addition to highlighting the efforts Roblox was willing to make to appease Chinese censors, the documents also show the risks the company was willing to take. One of the more interesting takeaways from the presentation is that Roblox was expecting its game to be hacked, likely by the company it’s working with Roblox to China. “Expect hacking to have already begun,” reads one bullet point. “Expect it to be ramped up once a deal is signed, possibly even by a partner.”

There’s no evidence that Tencent, the company Roblox eventually partnered with, ever targeted the game, but the company clearly had reservations about working with the tech giant. The slides warn that a relationship with Tencent would require Roblox to “stand our guard.” In addition, they show that Roblox also considered a collaboration with NetEase and even rated the company positively. “Direct, down-to-earth, flexible problem solvers who act in the spirit of a joint venture,” says one slide. It’s unclear why Roblox ultimately went with Tencent over NetEase, but the fact that the former promised the “fastest path to mega-acquisition” likely played a role in the decision.

Roblox didn’t immediately respond to Engadget’s request for comment, but the company shared a statement motherboard.

“The slide you’re referring to is from 2017, before we had a formal joint venture relationship,” a Roblox spokesperson told the outlet. “As is usual for a company entering a new market, we consider risks and opportunities and plan for them.” The spokesman added that company policy is to comply with the laws of the regions in which it operates.

In the end, Roblox’s plans weren’t enough to ensure a smooth entry into the Chinese market. Five months after Roblox launched in the country, the company is temporarily taking “important transitional measures.” If you want to read more about the factors Roblox considered before entering China, be sure to read motherboards full report

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https://www.engadget.com/roblox-china-documents-172350532.html?src=rss Leaked documents show the hoops Roblox jumped through to do business in China

Russell Falcon

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