Spec Ops: The Line, the thought-provoking, surreal military shooter by Yager, has inconspicuously been delisted without any warning. Wario64 spotted and reported the delistment of one of the best shooters on the seventh-generation consoles (Xbox 360, PS3).
Other PC games stores, as well as Xbox Store, still offers the game.
A representative of publisher 2K offered a statement to Stephen Totilo on the delisting, which boils down to expiring licenses. The full statement is below:
“Spec Ops: The Line will no longer be available on online storefronts, as several partnership licenses related to the game are expiring. Players who have purchased the game can still download and play the game uninterrupted. 2K would like to thank our community of players who have supported the game, and we look forward to bringing you more offerings from our label throughout this year and beyond.”
Spec Ops: The Line utilises at least 13 licensed songs, including Star Spangled Banner by Jimi Hendrix.
Licensed content has always been an issue that caused digital games to be delisted. Music can be replaced (like in GTA IV) or these licenses deals can be extended. But usually for old games like Spec Ops: The Line, it’s easier for the publisher to not make the game available for purchase anymore.
Racing games, in particular the ones that uses real cars and courses, are notorious for being delisted. The entirety of Forza Motorsport bar the new, numberless entry is not available digitally anymore. And more recently Ubisoft will be shutting down the servers for the online-only game The Crew, rendering all copies of the game even physical ones unplayable.
Game publishers are making digital purchases less appealing with such this sort of move being on the regular. While buying a digital copy is very convenient for folks with a good internet connection, depending on this format entirely for game distribution may not be ideal.