Nintendo has just announced that two of their mobile games, Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp and Fire Emblem Heroes will be completely shut down in the county of Belgium on August 27. The company made a statement regarding the situation where they also mention that anyone who has any Orbs or Leaf Tickets will be able to use them all the way up the aforementioned date.
Both titles are being pulled over the recently enacted laws that essentially make any loot boxes and microtransactions in video games a form of gambling, and therefore illegal. Both Fire Emblem Heroes and Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp use this method of itemization as players can use in game currencies as well as real life money. While you can completely avoid paying with actual cash, the game more or less encourages you to do it as the progression in each title is much quicker this way.
It was due to these types of practices that eventually led to some countries outright banning any games that utilized this style of payment, specifically Belgium who has been the most aggressive against them so far. Nintendo isn’t the only company to cooperate with them either. Square Enix has pulled some of their titles from publication in the country, and EA has actually removed the ability to buy in game currency on FIFA 19.
To reiterate, as of August 27, players in Belgium will not be able to play or download either Nintendo game for the foreseeable future. In addition, the company has stated that they won’t release any new titles with loot boxes or microtransactions going forward. While this doesn’t look like much, this could lead to a major domino effect worldwide regarding monetization in video games. In the United States, the Federal Trade Commission has already planned a hearing for the practice, and recently, Senator Josh Hawley introduced a bill to outright ban it altogether.