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Diablo Immortal launch blocked in Belgium and Netherlands due to loot boxes

Published: 18:53, 30 May 2022
picture showing a demon with diablo immortal title
Diablo Immortal

Blizzard seems to be sticking with the loot boxes as opposed to prioritising player experience as Diablo Immortal will skip some markets.

Belgium and Netherlands have strict legislation regarding gambling and loot boxes fall into the category under these two countries' laws. As such, no game can utilise this predatory monetisation system if it wants to keep working on their territory.

Several games have disabled such systems in order to stay in the market and they mostly operate the same for the most part. For example, Black Lion Chests from Guild Wars 2 are disabled in both countries but that is not stopping the players from enjoying the game otherwise.

Blizzard, on the other hand, seems to be shifting towards the extreme focus on monetisation with Diablo Immortal as they will be foregoing release in either of the countries. 

In a statement given to Tweakers , Activision Blizzard stated that the game will not be released in Belgium or Netherlands because of "the current operating conditions for games in those countries".

While not directly stated, the wording very much implies it's because of the gambling laws that include loot boxes that are purchased with real-life currency. After all, it's a mobile game and everyone immediately suspected aggressive monetisation, which is why the reaction to the reveal was so negative, not because "people don't have phones".

Blizzard Diablo Immortal
Diablo Immortal

In any case, it's possible that the virtual items might be tradeable for real-life currency as well, which is extrapolated from the fact that Dutch laws consider loot boxes gambling only if the content has real-life value. Maybe Blizzard will lean into NFTs for a double whammy.

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