Shortly before the release of the action role-playing game Diablo Immortal it was announced that the game will not be released in Belgium and the Netherlands. Although Blizzard is not very specific in an official statement, there is reason to believe that this measure is related to the controversial Diablo Immortal in-game shop.
We have summarized for you what can be bought in the shop of the new Diablo and whether it is Pay2Win. This is one of the reasons why Immortal should not be a model for Diablo 4, as Michael Graf urgently warns:
more on the subject
Diablo Immortal shows how Diablo 4 shouldn’t be
Disappeared from the App Store
The Dutch website Tweakers first reported that Diablo Immortal will not be available in either Belgium or the Netherlands. Although it was initially possible in both countries at the end of April to register in advance for access in the app stores, this option was switched off again a few days later.
Tweakers solicited an official statement from Blizzard stating that Diablo Immortal will indeed not be available for either mobile or PC. Reason are the
Operating conditions for games in these countries. They probably didn’t want to say it, but they obviously mean the strict laws restricting gambling in Belgium and the Netherlands.
What applies in Europey? Most recently, the rules for simulated gambling have been tightened at European level and games are only approved for age restrictions as a result. The USK, which is responsible in Europey, continues to examine games on a case-by-case basis. You can find out more about this here:
Tough new age limits for games in Europe – what’s happening here?
Loot boxes are considered gambling
The Belgian Gaming Commission, on the other hand, is taking decisive action against loot boxes in games. As soon as loot boxes are bought with real money and their contents depend on probabilities, this violates the laws in force there. That’s why many Free2Play games don’t even appear there.
In the Netherlands, on the other hand, the situation is more complicated. Efforts are also being made here to regulate gambling. But loot boxes are only categorized as gambling if their contents can be traded. However, such a possibility will probably not exist in Diablo Immortal.
In addition, the Dutch gaming authority recently lost a lawsuit about the loot boxes in FIFA. The competent court ruled that these do not violate gambling laws. Here we report on what makes Fifa Ultimate Team particularly problematic:
New trouble about FIFA Ultimate Team
Lootbox leak forces EA to make a statement
For these reasons, i.e. the definition of loot boxes and the ruling in favor of them, a ban in the Netherlands does not seem quite as likely as in Belgium. However, it is quite possible that publisher Blizzard was already risking a ban enough to cancel the release in both countries and thus prevent a legal dispute from the outset.
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