"End of Life" digital games


#1

As of September 30, Forza Motorsport 5 on Xbox One reached “End of Life” status. That means that the game and its associated DLC are no longer available for purchase. [source]

So this isn’t unheard of, games go out of print and so on. Licensing deals expire (which a car game possibly gets from limited terms on the vehicle licensing but also other brands (Top Gear, Ken Block, etc) and even just the music) and force games off the market. Especially for somewhat incremental products like sports games (which is the model for something like Forza Motorsport with incremental changes to car roster and tracks - but not the model for Forza Horizon, a game that also went EoL after 5 years on shelves) then it’s maybe not the end of the world. These games even have physical versions so you can get out there and find a copy to buy used, although you can’t buy any DLC that’s not included.

Here’s my thing: should we accept this as just the norm? Especially with games increasingly becoming just digital products, should we just get used to games vanishing from infinite shelves because it’s too much hassle to license the parts required in perpetuity or should we expect the heritage of games to be preserved as something you can buy (especially in terms of digital-only DLC) forever (while the company that made it still exists or another company purchased the IP from a collapse)?

Are you prepared for a future where this is absolutely the standard for all games? That you get a window to purchase them in and after that’s gone then so is any ability to legally play the game - without first sale doctrine extended to digital copies then there is no recognised right to resell existing purchased copies so once the original seller stops selling new copies then you have no access to legal versions of digital games and DLC. It’s the matter-of-fact way this is stated in the post, as if this should just be something we expect for all games going forward rather than an exceptional event (like the EA server wall of shame - something to chastise a publisher for allowing to happen).


#3

(Wait, is that the first thread about game preservation? Really?!)

People way smarter than me already talked about this issue from all kinds of angles. From copyright laws, to emulation. From HD versions and remakes, to… how can you preserve WoW as a part of a culture? Maybe, 10, 20, 100 years from now there would be a way, legal or otherwise, to play WoW, but it would be different WoW and played by different people.

But, speaking personally, it didn’t affected me. Yet. I still can go and replay “Dungeon Keeper” (which I did this June) that I (re)bough from GOG. I can go and play NOLF that no one sells anymore. They can stop me anytime, if they can figure out whose copyright I’m breaking! :­) Honestly, if there is no legal way to give money to publisher and/or developer, I don’t care that much. Desura is dead, but maybe not, but dead, but not… I don’t even remember what I own there, that is not also on Steam. There is a bunch of, let’s say, online-dependant games that don’t exist anymore, but I’m not sure that I care about any of them.

The only thing that is kinda close, for me, is “Dark Souls”. I finished second and third one, but not the first, mainly because I was avoiding multiplayer. But now I know, that co-op is the way for me to beat it. But would that co-op be any good now? Is it full of hackers? I’m not sure!

So, yeah, while I believe game preservation is important on all kinds of levels, from personal (“but I bought it!”), to historical, I’m not really being helpful here :­)


#4

I mean, this is literally just the Microsoft “Always Online” argument, isn’t it? The stuff they took out of the Xbox One because nobody wanted it?

Not only am I not prepared for it, I’ll actively fight against it. I hate the new trend in software where something like Photoshop is moving to a subscription model. I was looking for some obscure audio tool just a couple weeks ago, and found it – it was $40, but instead of “buy” the button said “relicense for 1 year”

I guess I didn’t need it.

The idea that I can pay for something and have it pulled from my ownership is terrifying. It’s one thing if I damage a physical object and have to replace it, but to just suddenly wake up one morning and have somebody else decide I don’t own that software anymore is the literal, actual definition of robbery.


#6

look, i’m still mad Outrun Online Arcade and After Burner Climax are gone forever. that and Xbox Live Indie Games went offline this year and now there’s nowhere to get a lot of those games. the same thing happened recently with PS Mobile.

it’s really terrifying to just lose so many games like this because it’s not profitable to keep them up.


#7

I have actively started buying licensed games just because I anticipate their eventual disappearance.

Right before the second Michael Bay Ninja Turtles movie came out, I hurried and bought TMNT: Out of the Shadows on Steam because the movie was also incidentally subtitled “Out of the Shadows” and I figured the two conflicting with each other would cause a removal of the game (which was met with poor reviews on release, but I thought seemed weirdly interesting based on the demo)

At the time I was wrong, but history eventually proved me right, and now, that game can’t be purchased on Steam anymore because Activision doesn’t have the Ninja Turtles license anymore.

Similarly, Transformers Devastation (along side a bunch more Transformers games) vanished off of Steam last week without warning. Being a Platinum fan, I genuinely wanted to play Devastation some day, so it was a huge bummer that Acitivision silently pulled that game. Thankfully, it was still up for sale on the Xbox 360, so I got it before it vanished from there, too.

The only solace is that these places at least still let you download games you own, even if they aren’t available for purchase anymore, but the scary thing is when you get games like P.T. which are just permanently gone, forever, even if you have it registered to your account.


#8

yeah i intended to do the same for After Burner and bought a bunch of xblig and ps mobile titles for the same reason, but there’s only so much money i have hah.

the licensing thing is super scary for me and i always worry that my system will fail or that the games will fail to authenticate and those will be gone forever.


#9

Apparently the Xbox Live Indies service is already dead. Any games you owned from that are gone forever. Most of the big ones eventually hit Steam, but there’s still probably a hundred or two weird, awful, cheap games that vanished in to thin air.


#10

naw you can still play em and maybe download em from the download list? but you can’t buy em any more and like you said this be hundreds of games are just gone forever