Upcoming free-to-play RPG Diablo Immortal reportedly will not be released in Belgium or The Netherlands, due to the game’s loot boxes, according to a Blizzard Communication Manager. The title will still launch on mobile and PC on the 2nd of June around the world.
Dutch site, Tweakers, asked Activision Blizzard why they were reportedly stopping the launch of the game in the country, communication manager for Benelux responded that “[it’s] related to the current operating conditions for games in those countries”.
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According to the Diablo Immortal subreddit, the situation was further explained, stating that the game could not be released in Belgium or Netherlands because of the “countries’ gambling restrictions”. In 2018, the Belgian Gaming Commission investigated loot boxes, such as those sold for real money by FIFA’s Ultimate Team mode, and found them to constitute gambling, thus banning these loot boxes.
“Unfortunately players in the Netherlands and Belgium will not be able to install Diablo Immortal due to the countries’ gambling restrictions.
The lootboxes in the game are against the law in your country, so unless the gambling restrictions change the game will not be released in the Netherlands and Belgium.”
The employee then warned against trying to download the game from another region’s app store, stating: “It would be illegal for you to download the game in another country like France. If you manage to run the game I cannot guarantee that you will not be banned for it.”
Further, the Belgian Commission went so far as to recommend criminal persecution against companies who continued to sell these loot boxes in their games. The result of these actions is that now any game sold in Belgium or in the Netherlands must either not feature any loot boxes, or have them removed.
There has been some argument over whether every loot box violates gambling laws in the country, it seems as though Blizzard wants to avoid the matter altogether.