Earlier today, Nintendo announced that it will be shutting down both Animal Crossing Pocket Camp & Fire Emblem Heroes in Belgium by the end of August, seemingly due to the country’s stance on lootboxes as gambling.
The announcement was made on Nintendo of Belgium’s Twitter, citing “current unclear situation in Belgium regarding certain in-game revenue models”. As most may know, both Animal Crossing Pocket Camp & Fire Emblem Heroes allow players to spend premium currency on randomized rewards such as units and items, a practice that could easily qualify as a “loot box”. This means that the shutdown is most likely motivated by Belgium’s classification of lootboxes as gambling, although not explicitly stated.
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
In a follow-up statement on their official website, Nintendo of Belgium further clarified that Belgium players who currently have both games downloaded can still keep and use their premium currency until the shutdown date of 27th August 2019.
Once this date has passed, the games will no longer be available to play or download in Belgium. Furthermore, any future Nintendo mobile games with similar monetization models will also not be released there.
“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. 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. In addition, future Nintendo games with similar earnings models will no longer be released in Belgium.
“We would like to thank all players in Belgium for playing Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp and Fire Emblem Heroes.”
This decision comes about a year after Belgium first classified lootboxes as gambling in April last year. Currently, there is no word on whether these games will also be pulled in the Netherlands, which has also adopted a similar stance. We will bring more information as the story develops.
What do you think? Let us know in the comments below.