Lootbox laws would block Diablo Immortal launches

This week’s long-awaited launch of Diablo Immortal is said to have been dropped in Belgium or the Netherlands, due to the countries’ loot box laws.

A communications manager for Activision Blizzard Benelux confirmed the move to Dutch news site Tweakers, GamesIndustry.biz reported, and cited “current operating conditions in those countries.” Eurogamer has contacted Activision Blizzard here in the UK for comment.

Pre-registration for the game’s mobile launch and PC beta has also been pulled in both countries, it has been claimed.

A quick overview of Diablo Immortal, which arrives this week.

Belgium and the Netherlands have historically taken a strict stance on games with loot box mechanics, especially with sales of Ultimate Team packs in FIFA.

In 2018, the Netherlands and Belgium declared loot boxes a form of gambling and therefore illegal. EA withdrew FIFA Points from sale the following year, but continued to fight a protracted legal battle to obtain a €10 million fine for the cancellation of its sale of FIFA loot boxes.

Four years later, EA finally got it right and the Dutch high court controversially overturned an earlier judgment stating that EA hadn’t broken the country’s gambling laws after all.

Still, it looks like Blizzard isn’t taking any risks.

An unverified email apparently from Blizzard Europe’s customer support team has also surfaced on reddit, which provides more details.

“Unfortunately, players in the Netherlands and Belgium will not be able to install Diablo: Immortal due to the countries play restrictions. The game lootboxes are against the law of your country, so unless the play restrictions change, the game will not be released,” it reads.

“It would be illegal for you to download the game in another country like France. If you manage to launch the game, I can’t guarantee that you won’t get banned for it.”

Diablo Immortal will launch this Wednesday, June 2 on mobile and PC via an open beta on Battle.net. Here in the UK the servers are online from 6pm BST.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.