Nintendo Pulls Mobile Animal Crossing, Fire Emblem From Belgium Over Loot Box Laws

Nintendo Pulls Mobile Animal Crossing, Fire Emblem From Belgium Over Loot Box Laws

US is safe for now, despite a looming senator's bill.

Two mobile Nintendo games will be shutting down in Belgium at the end of August. Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp and Fire Emblem Heroes will be taken out of the region, in response to legislation over revenue sources like loot boxes.

In a statement, Nintendo of Belgium says it will be ending service for Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp and Fire Emblem Heroes due to the current "unclear situation" in Belgium regarding certain in-game revenue models. Their services will shut their doors on August 27, and Nintendo says future Nintendo games with similar earnings models will no longer be released in Belgium.

The Belgian Gaming Commission determined loot boxes to be illegal in April 2018, so it's unclear why this move is being made now, a full year later. Other games, like Star Wars Battlefront 2, completely removed its loot boxes to comply with the new legislation. The Netherlands also instituted an anti-loot box law, leading several games like NBA 2K and Overwatch to pull loot boxes from their in-game shelves.

Nintendo's decision to remove the games rather than the mechanics that could cause issues is interesting; I don't have much experience with Pocket Camp, but Heroes is a game focused on the influx of orbs and saving for big rolls on different seasonal rotations, so it's hard to imagine the game without the odds-based rolls for rare fighters. While this is only for Belgium, it raises additional concerns in the U.S., where a senator is working to introduce a bill banning loot boxes to the Senate.

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Eric Van Allen

News Editor

Eric is a writer and Texan. He's a former contributor to sites including Compete, Polygon, Waypoint, and the Washington Post. He loves competitive games, live music, and travel.

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