Nintendo is pulling the plug on a handful of its mobile games in Belgium due to regulations on microtransactions.
Another day, another twist in the tale of micro-transactions. For the uninitiated, the current debate is whether or not the system of paying for in-game currency or items should be legally considered gambling, which of course has implications when such opportunities are so readily available to minors.
The Belgian Government is the frontrunners in the case against such practices, attempting to stamp out features such as pay to win and loot boxes from releases in the country. This stance has already claimed some major scalps on the home console front, such as sporting behemoth FIFA, but now the first strides have been taken on the mobile game front.
Nintendo has announced that the services of both Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp and Fire Emblem Heroes are to end later this year. Both games heavily feature in-app purchase models, despite being initially free to play. Here’s a translation of Nintendo’s original tweet announcing the cancellation:
BREAKING: Due to the uncertain nature of gaming earn models in Belgium, Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp and Fire Emblem Heroes’ services will be ended on August 27. https://t.co/7eXuTtL4Y0
— Daan K. 🔜 Tokyo/Kyoto 🇯🇵 (@NintenDaan) May 21, 2019
There you have it, August 27, the day where the apps will be pulled from the store and no longer function on your device. All future Nintendo releases will follow a similar model, or not be released in Belgium at all.
Of course, this will not effect players elsewhere in the world, but it sure is interesting to see the precedent being set, just in case other countries follow Belgium’s lead in banning these systems.
You’ve got to feel sorry for those who have pumped a lot of time and money into these apps already, having everything taken away from them like this, but if these features really are doing more harm than good, you have to look at this as a good move in the long run.