At the time of this article's publication, Roblox is playable in over 30 countries and banned in only a select few. Some of these 30 countries, however, have stricter video game laws than others, which can lead to a variation in which experiences can be played in which areas. Most recently, on Sept. 13, 2022, it was announced that Belgium and the Netherlands would be restricting the number of experiences that players in their countries could access due to certain country-specific law violations.
Some of the most popular experiences affected by this restriction are Adopt Me, Arsenal, and Shindo Life, all of which are fan favorites for thousands of players. To stay ahead of the expected community outcry, Adopt Me posted the following statement on its Twitter account as soon as the news was released: "As part of a Roblox-led program to comply with laws in the Netherlands and Belgium, we will shortly be shutting off access to Adopt Me for players in those countries."
Following this short statement, another tweet was released that said, "We're eager to invite players from The Netherlands and Belgium back into Adopt Me soon, as we're working hard to make changes that allow Adopt Me to continue following the laws of these countries without significantly altering gameplay."
While it may be surprising for many, this isn't the first time Adopt Me, and Roblox in general, has clashed with the Netherlands' laws. In 2020, Adopt Me was forced to remove the trading feature for players in both the Netherlands and South Korea due to restrictive video game laws, and then made a note of this change on their blog site, stating, "We want all of our core game features to be enjoyed by as many players around the world as possible. However, to comply with laws in The Netherlands and Korea, trades for Dutch and Korean players in Adopt Me will be permanently disabled."
Though users in the Netherlands were able to continue playing Adopt Me after this change, they aren't so lucky in 2022. As Adopt Me players are aware, the experience uses an egg system to unlock and collect new pets; in Belgium and the Netherland's eyes, each time that a player purchases an in-game egg or loot box, they're technically gambling on whether or not that egg will hatch a rare pet. After a stint with Star Wars Battlefront II in 2018 that saw players criticizing an unfair and manipulating loot box system, Belgium passed a law that banned all in-game loot boxes from the country; any video game companies found to be violating this law could face fines upwards of 1.6 million USD and five to ten years of jail time.
In July 2022, the Netherlands followed in Belgium's footsteps, proposing stricter regulations on loot box systems in their country that would ultimately lead to a nationwide ban, with six political representatives coming forward to file the motion. Now, in Sept. 2022, it seems as though these regulations and restrictions are quickly becoming more prevalent as experiences across Roblox are being removed for players in these countries.
Since these restrictions have been announced, the reactions inside of the Roblox community have been mixed. Roblox has dealt with flack regarding its Robux system for years, with multiple major news outlets criticizing the platform for taking advantage of its young audience and their lack of understanding of gambling and the concept of monetary value in general. Because of this, some Roblox users are in favor of the ban, going as far as encouraging it to be spread to even more countries.
"To be honest, I'm glad the Netherlands are implementing this law, the amount of gambling with real money on Roblox is unreal," said user @soshio_26. "I wasted a lot of money when I was young, so much that it put my parents though debt and stress. Their law isn't unjust, it's to stop children from wasting money and ending up with a gambling addiction."
Other users, such as @britduquet, feel torn about the new law and Roblox's subsequent experience changes, saying, "I don't think this is fair, we've put so much time into finding pets, growing up pets, and decorating our houses. I totally respect laws, but I hope [that] we don't need to restart with our daily rewards in Belgium and Netherlands."
To put those users in Belgium and the Netherlands who worry about their in-game Adopt Me progress at ease, Adopt Me made sure to mention on Twitter that "no one will lose their log-in streaks or items" during this transitional time.
It's unknown when Adopt Me and any other experiences currently facing access issues will be updated to accommodate their players in the Netherlands and Belgium, but developers are actively working on a solution and will rerelease their experiences as soon as possible.
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