Normally, we don’t report on mobile games on MMOBomb, but we thought we’d make an exception in this case as it’s likely a sign of things to come.
Earlier this morning, Webzen announced that service for MU Origin — the mobile entry in its MU IP — will no longer be offered in the Netherlands. As they put it, they will “discontinue service” of the game starting June 20th.
The shutdown is in response to a recent ruling from The Netherlands Gaming Authority requiring certain game companies to make changes to their loot box system in order to be in compliance with the law. Back in April, the NGA revealed that a study of video games concluded that some were violating the country’s gambling laws and ordered them to fix the issue before June 20.
Why, exactly, Webzen has elected to pull the game rather than make the required changes has not been said. It’s possible the work required to make the game compliant would cost more than is financially sound — especially since there are more countries that allow the current loot box system than don’t. In fact, the post on the MU Origin forums assures players that the game will continue to be available on both Google Play and the App store, “in all service regions beside the Netherlands.”
The good news is that players who have already downloaded the game in the Netherlands will apparently be able to play MU Origin, so long as they already have the game installed on their device prior to the service shut off. It just won’t be available for new downloads — or even searches after that.
Furthermore, it will be able to access and play the game regardless of the region if the latest version of MU Origin distributed by Webzen is installed on the device.
It will be interesting to see what other companies decide to pull out before that June 20th date — and who makes the changes required to stay. It sucks, but I’m thinking we will see some more of this over the coming weeks.