Belgium bans video game rentals

By Peter Nowak,

In one of the more bizarre rulings in recent memory, Belgians will soon not be able to rent video games, according to a report on Kotaku. It's true - the Belgian Entertainment Association managed to convince legislators in the European country this summer that game rentals were hurting game sales.

As such, the courts decided that game rental outlets could no longer buy new titles to rent, and could only continue renting out their existing offerings until December 1.

Well, December is only a month away, so in 30 days there will be no more video game rentals in Belgium.

There are several problems with such a ban. As one of the comments on the Kotaku story pointed out, if the Belgian Entertainment Association was worried about how rentals affected sales, it's now going to have bigger fish to fry with the inevitable increase in piracy the ban will lead to.

More importantly, how long can such a double-standard possibily hold on a legal basis? By the same logic, aren't movie rentals hurting movie sales? You'd think someone will challenge the ban in the courts before too long.

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This is a touchy subject and one that has been brought on by the consoles, and their designers, themselves. I don't see how this is going to improve sales of video games themselves. I mean, the whole aspect of rental stores (dealing with video games) is to test drive games to see what you could expect, if the game is something your interested in and if it lives up to the many infamous reviews posted via internet, TV or in Magazines. Plus, not all people can go out and afford to be buy games, which in Nova Scotia can be up to 90+ $. It almost seems like an attempt to control media piracy, something which is impossible for the European government to control at this moment. This is only going to create a wildfire, that the government will create themselves. They will see Video game purchases decrease GREATLY and piracy and illegal distribution increase... You can't fight fire with gasoline...

Posted October 31, 2008 05:12 PM



What an idiotic ban,

Clearly one must assume that all game releases are worth the buy..... they obviously not and renting is a good way for the customer to enjoy the less then spectacular title...

This will only hurt the video stores and the gaming industry, the 3rd party game developers will take a hit as well.

Posted November 3, 2008 03:49 PM



(1) No rental means no legal way to try something out. This will only hurt sales because now people will only spend their hard earn $$$ on those top, proven franchises. No one is going to take a chance on a new unknown game.

(2) Piracy in Belgium will increase because, again, no legal way to give something a test drive. Pls don't tell me you can download demos from PSN and Live. Firstly, most of the demos have unfinished touch to their graphics, performance, etc. and sometimes are not the real indication on now good a game is. Secondly, not all games have demos that you can download.

Posted November 3, 2008 07:59 PM

Akbar McGillicuddy


I presume the game rental places in Germany, Luxembourg, Netherlands and France will do great business with their new Belgian clients. Too bad for the Belgian providers of this service. Of course you could just move your business across the border.

Posted November 5, 2008 03:44 PM

Akbar McGillicuddy


I presume that the game rental outlets in Germany, Netherlands, Luxembourg and France will appreciate the money from their new Belgian clients.

Posted November 5, 2008 03:46 PM



I think a more reasonable policy is to allow developers (especially local developers) to get a percentage of revenues from game rentals. It could drive costs of rentals up slightly, but that's far better than to ban them outright, which as the article alluded to, can have unpredictable consequences, possibly negative.

Posted November 6, 2008 02:08 PM

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