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Tencent to publish Freejam's Robocraft in China

Deal announced one week after UK studio pledged to remove all loot boxes from the game

The UK-based developer Freejam has partnered with Tencent to publish its multiplayer robot-building title Robocraft in China.

A "new version" of Robocraft will be available only through Tencent's WeGame platform. In a statement issued to the press, Freejam listed "optimized visuals, exclusive gameplay mechanisms and progression" among the changes, as well as dedicated servers located in China to ensure low-latency gameplay.

"We believe Robocraft will not only bring its unique, mixed experience of sandbox and shooting elements to the Chinese gamers, but also broaden our games portfolio in sandbox market," said Tencent Games VP Sage Huang in a statement.

Robocraft is free-to-play, and it has attracted more than 13 million players to date. According to Freejam CEO Mark Simmons, the deal with Tencent could bring the addition of, "potentially millions more."

The announcement of the Tencent deal arrives less a week after Freejam confirmed that it was removing all loot boxes from the game.

In a blog post detailing the decision, Mark Simmons said the decision was taken due to, "persistent feedback from the community disliking their RNG [random number generator] nature of progression and P2W [pay-to-win] feeling."

Freejam is making numerous changes to the game's economy in order to support the removal of loot boxes, but Simmons emphasised that, "this isn't set in stone... we're ready to make changes to these plans if you hate them or if there are any major issues with some of them."

Games released in China are required to reveal drop rates, thanks to legislation introduced in December 2016. In Europe, the tide seems to be turning against the practice, with both Belgium and the Netherlands recently finding that several blockbuster games breach gambling laws.

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Matthew Handrahan avatar
Matthew Handrahan: Matthew Handrahan joined GamesIndustry in 2011, bringing long-form feature-writing experience to the team as well as a deep understanding of the video game development business. He previously spent more than five years at award-winning magazine gamesTM.
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