Well, here’s some bad news for people who live in Belgium or the Netherlands and are excited to play Diablo Immortal, Blizzard’s upcoming free-to-play dungeon crawler out June 2 on PC and mobile devices. It turns out, due to local loot box laws, that Blizzard’s next action RPG won’t be released in either country.
And it seems unlikely that Blizzard will change the game soon to comply with these local laws, leaving affected players without many options.
As first reported by Dutch news site TweakersActivision Blizzard has quietly shifted its release plans with Diablo Immortal. The free RPG will not be available in Belgium or the Netherlands because of regulations and laws in those countries. A communications manager at the Call of Duty and Overwatch publisher confirmed with the outlet that the game won’t release in those previously listed nations on June 2 due to “current operating conditions in these countries.”
Over on the Diablo Immortal subreddit, a player shared a message from a Blizzard gamemaster that more explicitly explained that Immortal was skipping some countries because of laws against loot boxes.
“The loot boxes in the game are against the law in your country,” explained the Blizzard employee. “So unless the gambling restrictions change, the game will not be released in the Netherlands and Belgium.”
The same employee also explained that players could try to get around the restriction, but that could lead to a ban from Blizzard.
Read More: Loot Boxes Are Designed To Exploit Us
Kotaku contacted Activision Blizzard about Diablo Immortal‘s loot boxes and release.
Making this a more frustrating situation for players is that Blizzard reportedly let folks in Belgium and the Netherlands pre-load the game ahead of its launch. Tweakers reports that after the game’s release date was revealed, players in these countries could pre-load the game. However, a few days later the option was quietly removed.
Diablo Immortal isn’t the first game to run afoul of European anti-loot box and gambling laws.
We’ve seen companies like EA face serious penalties for continuing to use loot boxes in places like the Netherlands and the UK. In response to the growing pressure on these purchasable random cratessome publishers have avoided releasing games in certain countries.
Other companies, like Rockstar, have disabled certain features related to gambling or in-game microtransactions depending on where you play. Some games, like Fortnite and Rocket Leaguehave completely changed how their loot boxes work or just removed them entirelywhich is a good thing considering how much these in-app purchases and stores are starting to just look and operate like casino slot machineseven in big $ 60 games.