November 22, 2010 (NA)
December 03, 2010 (EU)
|March 31, 2012
|Tetris Online, Inc.
|Nintendo.com page [Archive]
Tetris Party Live was the fourth release in the Tetris Party series developed by Hudson Soft and published by Tetris Online, Inc. for Nintendo platforms. Tetris Party Live was a downloadable iteration of Tetris Party Deluxe which saw a physical release on the Nintendo DS and Wii in May of 2010. The original Tetris Party was released for WiiWare in the Fall of 2008.
Tetris Party Live was removed from the DSiWare service no later than March 31st, 2012 though the reason is unknown. Tetris Party for WiiWare predates it, comes from the same developer and publisher and remains online to this day. It is possible that the game was delisted in accordance with Electronic Arts’ license to Tetris on mobile platforms that was in place by 2009. It could also be that the game offered a cheaper alternative to the physical DS release at $4.99 and was removed to encourage sales of the pricier version.
Continue reading to see where Tetris Party Live fits in the modern, digital Tetris lineage.
The Great Tetris Delisting of 2014
On January 16th, 2014 Ubisoft announced that they had acquired the Tetris license and would release Tetris Ultimate for all current console and handheld platforms. Although unsubstantiated, it appears this license granted Ubisoft exclusive rights to downloadable versions of Tetris. Electronic Arts previously held the license and released Tetris on PSP, PlayStation 3, Blackberry, Windows Phone, iOS and Android between 2009 and 2013. Ubisoft’s announcement resulted in a restructuring of their deal where EA would retain the rights to Tetris on mobile platforms only. Meanwhile, Nintendo’s 20-year copyright on Tetris for Game Boy expired in September of 2013. This confluence of licensing deals resulted in The Great Tetris Delisting of 2014.
On January 9th, 2014 a PlayStation forum user asked if it was still possible to download Tetris for PlayStation 3. The “Buy Download” button on the game’s playstation.com page redirected to the PlayStation Store where it was not possible to complete the purchase. Over the next day other forum members confirmed that EA’s Tetris for PlayStation 3 and PlayStation Portable had been delisted, presumably due to the terms of Ubisoft’s licensing deal.
Late in the year, on December 27th, Nintendo UK announced via twitter that the Game Boy version of Tetris for the 3DS would be delisted on the 31st. The following afternoon, twitter user NintenDaan posted a screenshot of a message sent to European 3DS users confirming that Tetris Axis (aka Tetris) was also being delisted on the 31st. Both games were removed in the US and Japan without advance notice to users.
While the Game Boy removal makes sense based on the expired copyright, Tetris Axis’s delisting is a bit more uncertain. Having been released simply as Tetris in Europe and Japan, either EA or Ubisoft could have claimed “brand confusion” over the game, resulting in its removal. Both games join the previously delisted Tetris Party Live for Nintendo’s DSiWare platform that was removed no later than March 31, 2012.
The Tetri that Remain
As of May 2016 very few digital Tetris titles remain available on consoles aside from Ubisoft’s Tetris Ultimate. Tetris Splash for Xbox 360 and Tetris Party for WiiWare have been available to download since they launched in 2007 and 2008 respectively. These titles were released through Tetris Online, Inc. and as they are owned by The Tetris Company there’s never been a risk of delisting while the license changed hands around them. When EA relinquished their license to Ubisoft they retained the rights to Tetris on mobile devices where they continue to support Tetris, Tetris Blitz and Tetris for iPad into 2016.
In Japan, a separate, more complex license was granted to Sega allowing them to release Puyo Puyo Tetris alongside Tetris Ultimate in 2014. Apparently part of the license restricted them from releasing the game digitally on Xbox One and PlayStation 4. While physical copies were released on all platforms the game is only available to download on PlayStation 3, Vita, Wii U and 3DS.
About the Game
“Play Tetris in real-time with the rest of the world!
Now you can party with Tetris whenever and wherever you want! Tetris Party Live features several exciting game modes from the popular Tetris Party series, including Marathon (a favorite single-player mode), Computer Battle (challenge the computer), VS Battle (challenge a friend), and Duel Space (strategize to claim the most space against a friend). But the party doesn’t stop there! Take the Tetris fun online via Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection, where you can play multiplayer Tetris against up to three opponents at a time. You can also see how your Tetris Party Live skills stack up against the rest of the world using the global ranking system.“