Diablo Immortal, the free-to-play mobile entry in the Diablo franchise, released early worldwide on Wednesday — with the exception of the Netherlands and Belgium. The reason those countries don’t have access to the new game? Laws preventing the selling of loot boxes.
A post on the Diablo Immortal subreddit from May 23 had a screenshot of a reply from a Blizzard Entertainment employee in Europe who confirmed that players in Belgium and the Netherlands won’t be able to install the game when it’s released. Dutch tech site Tweakers confirmed the game’s unavailability because of those countries’ anti-gambling laws, which also restrict loot boxes, as first spotted by GameIndustry.biz on Monday.
“Diablo Immortal is not available in Belgium or the Netherlands,” a company spokesperson said in an emailed statement Thursday. “While we appreciate the desire of local players to access our game, this is related to the current operating environment for games in those countries.”
Players who attempt to get around the restriction in order to play the game risk being banned from Blizzard Entertainment’s Battle.net.
Loot boxes are grab bags of in-game content purchased via a specific in-game currency that typically requires real-world money. Both Belgium and the Netherlands passed laws outlawing these forms of gambling in 2018. Other European countries have considered their own versions of the legislation. There was a push by Sen. Josh Hawley, a Republican from Missouri, to ban loot boxes in the US back in 2019.
Diablo Immortal takes place after the events of Diablo II. Players control one of six classes: Barbarian, Wizard, Monk, Necromancer, Demon Hunter, and Crusader — and destroy shards of the Worldstone. This game is the first mobile game for the series, but it will be released on Battle.net for PC players on Thursday as an open beta. With Wednesday’s launch, it’s on Android and iOS.