Nintendo has announced it is shutting down the mobile versions of Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp and Fire Emblem Heroes in Belgium in August amid fears its “in-game revenue models” may contravene the country’s tough stance against loot boxes.
As reported by Eurogamer, while both games include cosmetic items and in-game currency that can be purchased outright via microtransactions, this issue seems largely connected to the randomised nature of some rewards, many of which offer exceedingly low-odds of securing anything worthwhile, many times finding the gamble only results in duplicate items.
Vanwege de huidige onduidelijke situatie in België omtrent bepaalde verdienmodellen van games, zal de service voor Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp en Fire Emblem Heroes op 27 augustus 2019 in België worden stopgezet. https://t.co/8xvDHr0zkO
— Nintendo België (@NintendoBE_NL) May 21, 2019
“Due to the current unclear situation in Belgium regarding certain in-game revenue models, we have decided to end the service for Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp and Fire Emblem Heroes in Belgium,” Nintendo of Belgium said in a statement (as translated by Google). “It will therefore no longer be possible to play and download the games from Tuesday 27th August 2019.
“Players who still have Orbs and / or Leaf Tickets in their account can continue to use them until the service ends.”
Before thanking the all players in Belgium for playing, the statement further adds that “in addition, future Nintendo games with similar earnings models will no longer be released in Belgium”.
While Nintendo hasn’t yet clarified why its made this decision now – nor why it’s only removing the games from sale in Belgium – it follows the pattern set by other publishers in recent months, with the likes of Blizzard taking out loot box functionality from Overwatch in Belgium, and 2K Sports removing its paid-for elements in NBA 2K18 for both Belgium and the Netherlands. Similar decisions have come about from the likes of Valve, Warner, and we’ve even seen publishers pre-empting the negative pushback – though not specifically related to the Belgium/Netherlands laws – by announcing there won’t be loot box-like elements in their upcoming games and removing them from existing ones, for example in Forza.