With a mobile launch, hell is everywhere now. No, I thought so, but not as much as the Netherlands and Belgium. Blizzard’s new title, Diablo Immortal, the first mobile title in the Diablo franchise, scheduled to be released on June 3, is unlikely to be released in Belgium and the Netherlands.
Diablo Immortal’s failure to launch in the region is related to the recent cancellation of pre-registration. Blizzard announced the release date of the game in April and predicted the simultaneous release of mobile and open beta PC versions. However, a few days later, pre-registration for the game, which had been going on all along, was changed to impossible in the Netherlands and Belgium.
After that, a user inquired about this to Blizzard, and the response he received spread through the online community, raising the possibility of a non-release. In response, Blizzard’s support team said in a reply that gambling restrictions in two countries, the Netherlands and Belgium, prevented the launch in those countries. It is also illegal to download games from other European countries, such as France.
Afterwards, the community manager of Activision Blizzard Benelux reconfirmed that the game was not released in that country through the Dutch magazine Tweakers. The manager told Tweakers that it had to do with the operating conditions for the country, and did not disclose the detailed reason for the failure to release, contrary to the previously released guidance from the support team.
Why Diablo Immortal Unreleased in Netherlands-Belgium?
Belgium and the Netherlands are countries that have expressed their opinions about the sale of in-game rootboxes and illegal transfer of items early. Belgium has argued for a mental health threat by talking about a mix of gaming and gambling for random rewards that can be obtained with cash. In addition, the Dutch Gambling Authority’s Board of Directors has also stated that content transferable rootbox elements must comply with gambling laws.
Diablo Immortal is not the first game that has not been released in the region due to these regulatory moves. Smilegate’s Lost Ark is also not serviced in this area. Amazon, in charge of Lost Arc’s North American and European services, excluded the Netherlands and Belgium from the game service countries for legal reasons, including South Africa, which does not have publishing rights. In the case of Lost Ark, there are products that can be purchased with cash, and item packs with random rewards are also included in the game.
The developers of Diablo Immortal have consistently emphasized that equipment items can only be acquired through play. In fact, in the last beta, where in-app payment products were tested, the Battle Pass, which provides fixed rewards consistently, instead of a box containing random equipment or legendary gems, was introduced as core products. However, when clearing the dungeon, the legendary crest that can obtain the legendary jewel is sold as an eternal orb, which can be purchased with cash.
Meanwhile, in March, the Dutch Supreme Administrative Court overturned a court ruling that fined EA for violating gambling laws for packs included in FIFA’s Ultimate Team mode . At the time, the National Council Administration said that a significant portion of the packs could only be obtained through gameplay, not as cash goods. He also objected to the argument of the Dutch Gambling Authority’s board, noting that pack purchases were not served separately from the game.
Some predict that the regulatory move will focus more on mental health rather than on random giveaways and monetization. On the other hand, there was an opinion that the ruling would allow many developers to gradually open their doors to game services that were blocked by regulations. However, as Diablo Immortal was not released, game service restrictions in the two countries are expected to continue for a while.
Diablo Immortal takes place between Diablo II and Diablo III. The game tells the story of Diablo’s lieutenant Skarn and the heroes who try to revive the demon lord by collecting worldstone fragments scattered around the world. Blizzard will introduce Diablo Immortal with Korean version as a global service except for some regions on June 3, and will also support sharing progress and cross-play with the PC version that will be released at the same time.
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