Recent setbacks for US-based video game creators Roblox and Epic Games within mainland China indicate that the nation is moving towards a future where its metaverse—said by enthusiasts to be the next generation of the internet—could be shut off to foreign companies, reports the South China Morning Post. Roblox and Epic Games have both made the metaverse—loosely defined as a shared, immersive 3D virtual space where people can interact and trade—a core part of their business strategy.
The latest setbacks by Roblox and Epic show that any future iteration of the metaverse in China could become off-limits to foreign tech firms despite their willingness to comply with Beijing’s strict regulations, according to analysts.
While Roblox said in its IPO prospectus for its New York listing in March that it has high ambitions for growth in China, the Californian company’s investor presentation last week showed that few of its 47.3 million daily active users are currently located in the country, the world’s largest video gaming market. Also this month, Epic announced that it would pull its hit game Fortnite from China after its local partner Tencent failed to obtain a sales license from regulators.