Blizzard yanked 'Diablo Immortal' from regions with strict loot box regulations

Cal Jeffrey

Posts: 3,585   +1,075
Staff member
TL;DR: Blizzard is set to launch Diablo Immortal in just a couple of days. The plan was to have a global release, but relatively recent loot box laws in Belgium and the Netherlands have prompted the developer to pull the game from those regions rather than alter the mechanic.

Diablo Immortal is a free-to-play version of the mega-hit series, designed for mobile devices and PC. Dutch news outlet Tweakers notes that players in the two regions could previously pre-register for the game. However, that option inexplicably disappeared back in April when Blizzard announced a release date.

A post to the Diablo Immortal subreddit last week confirmed that players in the Netherlands and Belgium would not be able to download the game in their countries. It also explained that because of these regions' strict anti-gambling laws, which forbid video games with a loot-box mechanic, they could not even download the game from a neighboring country like France.

"The lootboxes [sic] in the game are against the law in your country," a Blizzard support representative told a Redditor inquiring about the change. "Unless the gambling restrictions change, the game will not be released in the Netherlands and Belgium. If you [do] manage to run the game, I cannot guarantee that you will not be banned for it."

Blizzard has not previously banned players in the past who circumvented regional restrictions. Its general philosophy seems to be, "if you can make it work, go for it." However, it cannot say for sure that it will not take action, especially if regulators find out that players are bootlegging the game.

In 2018, Blizzard, EA, and other developers stopped selling loot boxes in Belgium under threat from regulators who ruled the mechanic as gambling, which is outlawed. Nintendo was also among a group of other studios that pulled games with RNG rewards from both regions in 2019. It is unfortunate news for those looking forward to playing Diablo Immortal in those countries.

However, Blizzard may change its mind and remove loot boxes to comply if it can find another way to monetize. Diablo fans have not been very receptive to the idea of a free-to-play gacha version of the beloved franchise. So if developers see that it's not catching on, they could go to an in-game store model where players can purchase specific items rather than relying on random chance. But don't hold your breath on that.

Diablo Immortal launches for iOS, Android, and PC this Thursday, June 2.

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Dsirius

Posts: 259   +478
Blizzard and EA is poisoning the gaming industry for years. EU should impose Belgium and Netherlands rules gambling faster on all it's countries. Blizz and EA will comply faster than risking of loosing all their money. Until than, better not buying gambling machines, disguised as "games".
Also better to not buy any infamous Blizzard "games" until the investigations and trials of Blizz sexual and gender discrimination will come to an end.
 
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Dimitriid

Posts: 2,225   +4,280
Blizzard execs be like "What do you mean yanking out the loot boxes might be a better idea? ROFLMAO"
 

amghwk

Posts: 1,218   +1,144
I thought Blizzard would have learnt from EA's Battlefront II incident. Obviously, not.
 

ExReey

Posts: 26   +59
"Unfortunately players in the Netherlands and Belgium will not be able to install Diablo: Immortal due to the countries' gambling restrictions" says all you need to know about the game.
 

Endymio

Posts: 1,827   +1,895
robbery disguised as infamous loot boxes or "surprise mechanics" is just evil.
If you'd ever been actually robbed at the point of a gun, you wouldn't confuse it with freely choosing to play a video game.

Loot boxes are a rapacious, contemptible game mechanic ... but restricting someone's right to play a particular game in a particular manner is even more abhorrent.
 

Dsirius

Posts: 259   +478
If you'd ever been actually robbed at the point of a gun, you wouldn't confuse it with freely choosing to play a video game.

Loot boxes are a rapacious, contemptible game mechanic ... but restricting someone's right to play a particular game in a particular manner is even more abhorrent.
Synonyms for robbery - larceny, stealing, theft, thievery. Better than trolling is addressing the elephant in the room. This is freedom of choice. What some forget is that freedom comes with responsibility for their choices. Blizz choice is evil, broke the law and that's why is punished by law.
 
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quadibloc

Posts: 366   +245
Obviously gambling is not the same as theft. People aren't forced to gamble, they're provided with opportunities to choose to gamble. And because of existing gambling laws in many other countries, games with loot box mechanics have long had prohibitions in their terms of service against "real-world trading", the idea being that it's not gambling if the prizes have no monetary value.
So the fact that stealing is wrong doesn't lead to the conclusion that a more strenuous prohibition on vice, such as Belgium and the Netherlands are engaging in, is necessarily a good idea.
 

Endymio

Posts: 1,827   +1,895
Synonyms for robbery - larceny, stealing, theft, thievery.
Didn't find "loot boxes" on that list, did you?

Loot boxes are not armed robbery. They're not in the same ballpark, the same league, or even the same sport. If you don't like spending large amounts of money on a videogame -- then don't. Learn some self-control, rather than blaming others for your lack of it.
 

Dsirius

Posts: 259   +478
However Blizzard has bigger legal problems than loot boxes nowadays.
 
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Dsirius

Posts: 259   +478
Didn't find "loot boxes" on that list, did you?

Loot boxes are not armed robbery. They're not in the same ballpark, the same league, or even the same sport. If you don't like spending large amounts of money on a videogame -- then don't. Learn some self-control, rather than blaming others for your lack of it.
Quite a gymnastic jump u made to armed robbery. Better, be honest and just admit that you like loot boxes regardless if Blizz is complying or breaking the law. I understand your choice and/or freedom of choice.
 
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Endymio

Posts: 1,827   +1,895
Quite a gymnastic jump u made to armed robbery. Better, be honest and just say that you like loot boxes
Not nearly as huge a leap as you did in claiming I "like loot boxes", after my calling them a rapacious contemptible game mechanic. What I like is freedom. There are millions of gamers who DO like loot boxes -- who am I, or anyone else, to deny them their right to have them?
 

Dsirius

Posts: 259   +478
You continue to make a confusion between freedom of choice and consequences of breaking the law. In Belgium and EU loot boxes are regulated as part of gambling, and u can buy them. The difference is that Blizz must comply with this gambling activity, sell them only to adults and pay different taxes (bigger taxes). This is the real issue, Blizz want to hide that loot boxes is a form of gambling while Belgium and EU made it clear that loot boxes are gambling.
 
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Endymio

Posts: 1,827   +1,895
You continue to make a confusion between freedom of choice and consequences of breaking the law.
On the contrary, you're engaging in the moral relativism of pretending that all laws are equal and just. In Afghanistan, a woman breaks the law by attempting to attend school, in Saudi Arabia, a woman can be publicly whipped by allowing herself to be raped, and if you attempt to flee a Uighur slave-labor genocide camp, you can be shot to death. Do you believe individuals who breaks those laws "deserves the consequences" of their actions?

Blizz want to hide that loot boxes is a form of gambling
Stuff and nonsense. It's not even close to gambling. When Blizzard starts writing checks to people who open the right loot box, then you may have a point.
 

Dsirius

Posts: 259   +478
On the contrary, you're engaging in the moral relativism of pretending that all laws are equal and just. In Afghanistan, a woman breaks the law by attempting to attend school, in Saudi Arabia, a woman can be publicly whipped by allowing herself to be raped, and if you attempt to flee a Uighur slave-labor genocide camp, you can be shot to death. Do you believe individuals who breaks those laws "deserves the consequences" of their actions?

Stuff and nonsense. It's not even close to gambling. When Blizzard starts writing checks to people who open the right loot box, then you may have a point.
Whatever, I yielded, hope u can sense it.