Spotify has announced its official partnership in the metaverse and become the first music-streaming company to have a presence on Roblox. A key focal point of the collaboration are music creation features for players, who will be able to create music together via virtual beat-maker stations powered by Soundtrap – an online recording studio startup acquired by Spotify in 2017.
Roblox’s Spotify Island, will also allow gamers to explore themed islands based on their favorite genres of music. The first of these themed experiences will be K-Park, set to roll out with Korean artists Stray Kids and SUNMI later this spring.
Roblox’s user base has seen significant growth over the past few years. In April 2021, Roblox hit a milestone of 202 million monthly active users (up from 146 million in April 2020) according to estimates from RTrack.
Roblox hosts over 40 million games with 67% of Roblox users under the age of 16. In the Asia-Pacific region, Roblox had 7.2 million daily active users. Additionally, they added 2.6 million new daily active users in Asia in the past 4 quarters alone.
Despite the rapid expansion in the region, Roblox hit a bump in the road when it suddenly discontinued the Chinese version of its app, known as LuoBuLeSi. Only five months after its debut in China, Roblox’s partnership with Chinese game developer Tencent hit a roadblock. On December 8th last year, Roblox was removed from Chinese app stores, a similar fate to Epic Games Fortnite, who were forced to shut down in China without much explanation, despite the game having substantial modifications to meet Chinese stringent content standards. As of late December, the worldwide version of Steam, the gaming platform was also discontinued in China, perhaps to be replaced with a more restricted version.
Roblox’s Chinese edition had been restricted to a smaller pool of games. As a result, many Chinese users turned to VPNs to access the global version that isn’t subject to local standards.
In regards to the gaming-related shutdowns, Chinese regulators have compared video games to ‘spiritual opium’ and begun limiting screen time to just three hours per week for kids.
This is in addition to a curfew that prohibits children from gaming between 10PM and 8AM, to fight video game addiction.
Despite these challenges, LuoBuLuoSi was still the entrance point for many developers, both domestic and international, to enter the China casual-games market. Many creators are undoubtedly frustrated by the fact that no date has been set for the platform’s re-launch. LuoBuLuoSi had generated 1.7 million installs in the China App Store prior to its removal on December 8, according to app analytics firm Sensor Tower. Only time will tell if Roblox will continue to see growth in the region despite China’s restrictions.