Key art of Diablo Immortal enemies standing menacingly
Diablo Immortal is the latest entry in the long running franchise.
Image: Activision Blizzard

The territories of Belgium and the Netherlands have been blamed by the publisher for preventing the release of its new free-to-play game. The two countries are notable for recent rulings against loot boxes in games, with authorities in each country arguing that they are a form of gambling. The cancellation was reported by a Dutch news site.

The game will not be available in Belgium or the Netherlands, and will not appear on or the Belgian and Netherlands App. Pre-registrations for the game are not available in those markets.

Regulators in both countries have raised objections to loot boxes

The statement doesn't say that the rules around loot boxes are to blame. It would be a coincidence if it wasn't, given recent high profile rulings in both countries.

Video game loot boxes are considered to be in violation of gambling legislation by the Belgium Gaming Commission. One of the most successful examples of loot boxes in the world is run by Electronic Arts, and it will stop selling in-game currency in Belgium the following year. Similar mechanics were disabled in Counter-Strike: Global Offensive.

The situation in the Netherlands is not easy to understand. The country's Gaming Authority ordered the company to remove the loot boxes from the game or be fined hundreds of thousands of dollars a week. The Dutch court ruled that the game's card packs do not constitute a form of gambling, and that the decision was overturned.

A customer support email was shared on the internet that said players in the Netherlands and Belgium would not be able to install the game.

The representative from the company did not reply to the request for comment. It is the first mobile entry in the company's long-running Diablo franchise.