Just a quick post to say no, I haven’t abandoned the site already. I’ve put things on hold this week to try and keep up with E3 and because my day job has blossomed into a bountiful bouquet of madness. If you’re interested in what I thought of E3 you can check out my reactions to the major press conferences on GameLuv.
While E3 has already settled down, my job hasn’t. The next few weeks will probably be pretty hectic but I’m already working today to squeeze in some new entries. When lulls in activity hit like this there’s always our Facebook and Twitter pages you can check out. Feel free to start up a delisted discussion with me or fans of the site!
Last month’s scare over an expired deal between Electronic Arts and the online games portal Big Fish Games seems to have left little in the way of casualties. While many of the listed games have been removed from Big Fish’s site very few of their PC and console counterparts have been touched one week later.
Double checking the list, the only delisted titles I found were Bookworm Deluxe, Bookworm Adventures and Bookworm Adventures: Volume 2 on Steam. Surprisingly, the PlayStation 3 version of Plants vs. Zombies was also missing but it looks to have been delisted in early 2015. I’m still wary about calling things settled on this one. I’ll be back to check the list again in a month or so.
It’s June 1st, the site has over 100 delisted titles and our hosting migration looks to have been a success. So it’s time to officially launch this thing! You can read more about our history here but for this sticky post I wanted to point out some features of the site to help you get started.
Our web hosting provider is bringing the server that Delisted and GameLuv live on up to modern standards on the 28th. In anticipation I may not be posting a whole lot in case they have to fall back on a slightly older backup of the site. After that I’m planning on finally launching this thing and making it official in June!
Confirming my suspicions after months of near total silence, Team Dakota confirmed on Friday, May 13th that the DIY game, Project Spark, would no longer be available to download on Windows or Xbox One platforms. While interested players were caught off guard and can no longer access Project Spark, those who still have it installed can download and save any community creations through August 12th, 2016. I can also confirm that the game may be re-downloaded through your Microsoft account purchase history but that link will most likely break in August.
“This was an extremely difficult decision for our team that we do not take lightly,” writes Thomas Gratz, Community Manager, on the Project Spark forums. “When Project Spark transitioned away from active development last fall, many of our team members moved to other projects within Microsoft Studios. While this means there have been no layoffs at Microsoft, it also means it’s simply no longer feasible to continue the behind-the-scenes work involved with keeping Project Spark up and running with meaningful updates and bug fixes, so we have come to this hard decision.”
Prior to the Fall 2015 update, Project Spark was released in a physical “Starter Kit” at retail, though the box contains only a download code and no disc. Those who purchased the physical edition and redeemed the code between October 5th, 2015 and May 13th, 2016 will receive a credit to their Microsoft account.
It’s always sad to see a game get delisted or cancelled but it’s especially painful for Project Spark as the creations of its users, supporters and fans will ultimately be deleted. My personal condolences go out to everyone who even dabbled with the game’s creation tools. In a sense we’re all being delisted alongside Project Spark come August 12th.
Read more on Project Spark
I’m still feeling my way through the crazy world of copyright law and Intellectual Property rights that are a major cause of delistings. So I’m not entirely sure how to interpret this vague news from EA but seeing a $122 million loss demonstrates how much is at stake when licensing is involved.
“During the first quarter of fiscal 2015 (April – June), Electronic Arts terminated its right to utilize certain intellectual property that the Company had previously licensed and we incurred a loss of $122 million on the corresponding license commitment.”
With no further details in their recent earnings report I can only guess as to what IPs were involved, though the following news from Big Fish Games may offer some indication. On June 1st the digital game distributor will be removing a staggering 56 EA/PopCap titles from its storefront including franchises like Zuma, Peggle, Bejeweled and many more. It’s not clear if this is the end of a specific deal with Big Fish Games or if their removal is part of EA’s IP losses.
If the latter turns out to be true then these games will also be removed from Xbox Live Arcade, PlayStation Network and any other digital platforms they were published on. That would mark the end for some of the oldest Xbox 360 releases including Heavy Weapon, Astropop, Feeding Frenzy and others. Check out the full list after the cut and hold tight for a potential delisting D-Day in June.
Up to now I’ve been fully researching and building out game pages on the site before posting them. Initially this was to make sure there was a bunch of quality content before I launched the site but the process can take quite a bit of time. While I’d like to present fully fleshed out pages it seems silly to sit on the names of games I know are delisted. So here come placeholders!
Thanks to a handy plugin that lets me duplicate posts I can now get temporary pages up on the site in a matter of minutes and circle back later to fill them in with details. This way everyone can confirm that a game has been delisted even if the full story isn’t ready to go. If you see an * in a game’s title or one of these blank cover images you can rest assured that the full details aren’t yet in but that the game is delisted on at least one platform.
Terry Cavanagh’s challenging 2D platformer, VVVVVV, just got a lot harder to play on the Nintendo 3DS. Merely one day after a new exploit was released that used the game to run homebrew code Nintendo pulled it from the 3DS eShop. Cavanagh himself was surprised at the news stating on twitter, “that’s unexpected!”.
While the exploit was only reliable with other exploits already in place, Nintendo apparently wasn’t taking any chances and pulled the game. It’s not the first game to be delisted thanks to an unexpected exploit. The infamous Cubic Ninja was removed from the eShop in November of 2014 for its use in bypassing the handheld’s software protection. The difference with VVVVVV is that the game was never released on a cartridge making it totally unavailable today on the 3DS. Fortunately, the game was released on a number of platforms and is still readily available for PC, mobile, PlayStation 4 and Vita. Check out the game’s Delisted page for more.
There is nothing more tenuous when it comes to delistings than licensed music. It’s something Harmonix is graciously on top of in their community forum, keeping everyone up to date on the songs that are leaving the Rock Band Music Store accessible across the various titles. I don’t think I’m going to relay every single DLC delisting that they post but the latest one is quite the to-do.
After the release of The Beatles: Rock Band on PlayStation 3, Wii and Xbox 360 in 2009, Harmonix supported the game with three downloadable albums from the band’s illustrious catalog. Abbey Road, Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band and Rubber Soul have been available from within The Beatles: Rock Band since late 2009 but the deal is finally expired and the 32 songs will be pulled on May 5th, 2016.
The Beatles: Rock Band really feels like a miracle of licensing spearheaded by a lot of goodwill from Harmonix. I’m still surprised it ever happened but one of the caveats of the deal stated that the songs could never be exported or folded in with another Rock Band title. Save for “All You Need Is Love” which saw an individual release, if you’re interested in grabbing these three albums you’ll need a physical copy of The Beatles: Rock Band itself.
Yesterday the Square Enix community manager for Nosgoth announced that the game will be shutting down on May 31st, 2016. Nosgoth has been in Early Access release on Steam since January and is free-to-play for anyone interested in taking a look before it’s gone for good.
You can read more about the game and it’s upcoming retirement on the full page I made but the quick overview is: F2P, competitive, team-based action game set in the Legacy of Kain universe. It was being developed by Psyonix, the same team behind the immensely successful Rocket League, so there’s at least no worry about the entire team going away with the game.
I’ve been playing Guitar Hero Live with a bit of urgency ever since I heard about its poor sales performance in February. One half of the game will always be available to play on the disc. The other half, the portion of the game that I was most drawn to, is Guitar Hero TV. GHTV is an always-on, 24/7 streaming music video mode that puts today’s MTV to shame. As you load up the game you drop into whatever song happens to be playing on either of the two available channels. Songs are themed and divided up into 30 or 60 minute blocks. As you play you compete against other players’ scores and earn experience, Coins and customizable note highways and player cards. It’s proven to be quite a lot of fun and incredibly addictive as the songs — good, bad and weird — just keep streaming in.
All that licensing, streaming and online multiplayer has to cost a ton to maintain, even for Activision. With this week’s news that Activision would be downsizing and restructuring development studio, FreeStyle Games, I can’t help but nudge the game onto the Watch List. Activision confirmed in their statement that FreeStyle would continue to maintain Guitar Hero Live and that new content was forthcoming but they aren’t planning to continue the series in their “current cycle”.
With the game so reliant on streaming HD video it was only a matter of time before Activision pulled the plug. Even if the game was a hit they would eventually have stopped GHTV to support the same mode in a sequel. It was always an inevitability but after this week’s news it seems even closer than I feared. Time to pay for a 24 hour pass and finally hit the level cap!