Following reports yesterday, Activision Blizzard has today officially announced that the release date for Diablo Immortal in the Netherlands and Belgium has been canceled due to a law banning loot boxes in those countries. This follows preloading being made available for the game in various regions aside from these two countries.
How loot boxes caused Diablo Immortal to be banned
An Activision spokesperson confirmed the reports that Diablo Immortal’s release has been canceled, saying to?Eurogamer that?the game will not appear on Battle.net for PC, the App Store, or Google Play Store in the Netherlands and Belgium. They continue saying that this is due to the current “operating environment” in those countries, and pre-registration for the game has therefore been withdrawn.
Yesterday, an Activision Blizzard Benelux communications manager jumped the gun with the announcement by speaking to the Dutch site Tweakers. They said the release date for Diablo Immortal had been canceled in those regions, citing similar reasons to the statement provided to Eurogamer.
Both Belgium and the Netherlands have had a very strict policy on loot boxes in video games. In 2018, both countries deemed loot boxes a form of gambling, therefore illegal for children. The Netherlands has famously battled Ultimate Team packs in the FIFA franchise. In October 2020, EA faced a penalty of?$550,000 for every week loot boxes were sold in Ultimate Team as it violated Dutch gambling rules. That decision was overruled in March by the Dutch high court, with EA no longer needing to pay the fine that totaled $11 million at that point.
Diablo Immortal is due to release in the rest of the world this Wednesday, June 2, for both PC and mobile.
In other news, the PC servers for Dark Souls are returning, according to the developer FromSoftware, starting with Dark Souls 3. Shareholders of Activision Blizzard have been urged not to re-elect current board members, including Bobby Kotick, due to them not recognizing the company’s workplace problems. Meanwhile, 7-day trials for Nintendo Switch Online are returning to the platform, giving players a small taste of online play on Nintendo Switch.