Earlier this week it was revealed that Grand Theft Auto IV (hereafter to be referred to as GTA 4) was no longer purchasable on Steam. Now, without any clear indication as to why this had happened, it did lead to a lot of speculation.
Was Rockstar Games planning to move it over to its own store platform? Was it something to do with the legal rights to some of the songs used in the game? – Well, the short answer is no. In a report via Eurogamer, it was because the game utilized the ill-fated ‘Games for Windows’ platform.
With the game running as part of the ‘Games for Windows’ platform, it hit difficulties when Microsoft essentially began to abandon it back in 2013. As such, Rockstar Games has said that the problem isn’t with the game itself, it’s because, with it in place, they can’t just generate new Steam keys.
“With Microsoft no longer supporting Games For Windows Live, it is no longer possible to generate the additional keys needed to continue selling the current version of the game. We are looking at other options for distributing GTAIV for PC and will share more information as soon as we can”
It should be noted that GTA 4 isn’t the first title to experience a problem with the ‘Games for Windows’ discontinuation. Similar problems have been seen with the Batman Arkham games and Bioshock 2.
You might, at this point, be thinking ‘surely this can just be fixed’. Well, the short answer is yes. The long answer is that prior examples have shown that removing the ‘Games for Windows’ feature is harder than originally thought.
Who knows though, maybe Rockstar Games will decide to repeat a little of their Max Payne 2 history. You know, when they directly used the pirated version of the game for digital downloads. No, I’m not joking.
Now, if you already own this game on Steam, then you don’t need to panic. You can still download and play it. What it does mean, however, is that Steam can no longer currently offer it for sale for people who don’t own it already.
Rockstar Games has clarified that they are exploring ways in which they can look to sell digital copies of the game again and, for the time being, you’re not going to struggle to find a Steam code for the game via the various third-party sellers.
I suppose what it really all boils down to is that it would’ve been nice to have had a little advance warning. Then again, with codes clearly in limited supply, perhaps Rockstar Games didn’t want to risk a rush!
What do you think? – Let us know in the comments!