Three and a half years after the announcement at BlizzCon 2018, the time has come: Diablo Immortal will be released on June 2, 2022 for PC, iOS and Android. Of the long-awaited launch of the new Diablo title this week but has reportedly been canceled in both Belgium and the Netherlands due to their loot box laws.
A Benelux communications manager from Activision Blizzard confirmed the move to the Dutch news site tweakershow GamesIndustry.biz reported, and referred to “the current operating conditions in these countries”. Pre-registration for the game’s mobile version and PC beta has been withdrawn in both countries, it is said.
The fight against Fifa packs and Co.
The Belgian Gaming Authority has been investigating since 2017 Loot boxes in games like Overwatch, Battlefront 2 or Heroes of the Storm. They have always demanded transparent insight into the chances of winning items from loot boxes. Both Belgium and the Netherlands have taken a tough stance on loot box games in the past, primarily related to the sale of Ultimate Team Packs in FIFA.
In 2018, both the Netherlands and Belgium declared that loot boxes were 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 have a €10 million fine for selling FIFA loot boxes overturned.
Four years later, EA finally succeeded, and the Dutch Supreme Court overturned an earlier judgment, finding that EA had not broken the country’s gambling laws after all. Still, it seems like Blizzard isn’t taking any chances.
An unconfirmed email that appears to have come from Blizzard Europe’s customer support team has also surfaced on Reddit, providing more details.
“Unfortunately, players in the Netherlands and Belgium cannot play Diablo: Immortal (buy now ) do not install due to gambling restrictions in these countries. The in-game loot boxes are against the law in your country. As long as the gambling restrictions don’t change, the game won’t be released,” it says. These rules don’t exist in Germany. Will you drop into Diablo Immortal, or has the game already taken its toll on you? We look forward to your opinion in the comments.