Activision Blizzard is restricting the release of its upcoming mobile title Diablo Immortal in Belgium and the Netherlands, in a move speculated to be linked to the countries' stringent rules regarding loot boxes.
Whilst the developer hasn’t outright confirmed that the cause of this decision is their loot box policies, an Activision Blizzard communication manager stated that the new title won’t be available for download via app stores or on PC as a result of "current operating conditions in those countries", according to a translation of Tweakers.
Blizzard’s gamemasters team, a Blizzard Support division, has more directly attributed the countries' loot box laws for this, stating: "The loot boxes in the game are against the law in your country", according to a Reddit post.
A boxful of controversy
The news comes one month after the release date reveal, at which point the game was available for pre-registration in these territories. Diablo Immortal is due to launch on smartphones in early June 2022.
Both the Netherlands and Belgium banned loot boxes in 2018 with amendments to gambling laws. The Court of The Hague fined EA $11 million in October 2020, but this was recently overturned as FIFA Ultimate Team packs were deemed to be an optional part of a wider game.
Take-Two Interactive – which recently completed its acquisition of Zynga – has faced a loot box lawsuit much more recently in Illinois; in March this year the presence of loot boxes in its NBA 2K games led to a class-action lawsuit on the grounds that its loot boxes were "unfair, deceptive and unlawful".