‘Diablo Immortal’ not being released in countries that ban loot boxes

It looks like Blizzard thinks the microtransactions are a vital part of the game that can't possibly be removed

It’s been confirmed by Blizzard that Diablo Immortal will not be released in the Netherlands or Belgium – two countries with strict rules about loot boxes.

According to Tweakers, the communication manager of Activision Blizzard Benelux has confirmed that Diablo Immortal will be unavailable due to “the current operating conditions in these countries.”

The game will not be available in these countries through the app stores, nor will it be available for PC through Battle.net.

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Activision Blizzard Benelux declined to expand on which operating conditions it was referring to specifically but both Netherlands and Belgium have made it difficult for developers to include loot boxes in games.

Belgium banned loot boxes completely in 2018 following uproar around their presence in Star Wars Battlefront 2, while in 2020 a Netherlands court ruled that the FIFA Ultimate Team loot boxes were a form of gambling and EA was fined £8.8million, though that decision was overturned earlier this year.

A support ticket from what looks like Blizzard’s team of gamemasters seems to confirm the news as well.

“Unfortunately players in the Netherlands and Belgium will not be able to install Diablo Immortal due to the countries’ gambling restrictions. The lootboxes in the game are against the law in your country,” reads the reply. “It would be illegal for you to download the game in another country like France.”

“If you manage to run the game, I cannot guarantee that you will not be banned for it,” the gamemaster continues. “What I can say is that in similar situations in the past where RNG loot boxes were against the law in certain countries, we did not ban any players for it, but I cannot give you a guarantee that you will not be banned. If you do manage to play the game on PC and mobile, as long as you use the same account on both, the cross-save should still work as intended.”

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Earlier this year, a report by researchers at the universities of Plymouth and Wolverhampton concluded that loot boxes are “structurally and psychologically akin to gambling”.

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