It’s a known fact that when you buy software and games, you’re paying for a license to access them. But most people don’t expect said software and games to be pulled from the market indefinitely, even though you, as the customer, paid good money for them in the first place. This is the case with Arena Battle Champions, Deus Ex GO, Hitman Sniper: The Shadows, and Space Invaders: Hidden Heroes. In a confusing Twitter statement from Onoma (ex-Square Enix Montreal), said games will no longer be accessible from January 4th. We have to assume that Onoma is referring to the year 2023, but nothing is ever certain these days.
What is strange about this announcement is that Onoma itself, which has recently undergone an expensive rebranding process under new owner Embracer, has itself been shut down without explanation, so it no longer exists as an entity. It should be said here that Square Enix Montreal which became Onama, was the developer behind the GO series of games, including Hitman GO, Lara Croft GO and Deus Ex GO, of which I ‘own’ the first two games that I only rarely play on long haul flights to Europe and other tedious stretches of boredom. But that isn’t the point here due to the uncertainty factor. Why is only one of the three GO mobile games being permanently scrapped, but not the other two? Why can’t these games be standalone, without the need for server access?
Pulling Games Is Nothing New
I’m not an avid mobile gamer, but being a Tomb Raider fan, I was keen to see how Tomb Raider 2 would look on my Samsung Galaxy phones, so I bought it for $1.31 back in 2017 only to find that a couple of years later, the game was no longer available for purchase with no explanation given. However, since I bought the game, I have changed phones a couple of times and have been able to download it to the new phone, which is exactly how it’s meant to be. The same happened with Forza Horizon 3 for PC which is no longer available for purchase, but if you have already bought the game, you can still re-install it on a new build or Windows installation. Nowadays, the cool lingo is to refer to such games as ‘being retired’, a catch-all phrase that really means licensing issues. However, the Embracer Group, which recently acquired Square Enix, Crystal Dynamics, and others, appears to have dropped the ball by not explaining exactly what their intentions are.
With its head office based in Karlstad, Sweden, Embracer Group has a global presence through its twelve operative groups: THQ Nordic, Plaion, Coffee Stain, Amplifier Game Invest, Saber Interactive, DECA Games, Gearbox Entertainment, Easybrain, Asmodee, Dark Horse, Freemode and Crystal Dynamics – Eidos Montréal. The Group has 132 internal game development studios and is engaging more than 15,731 employees and contracted employees in more than 40 countries.
Big corporations have a lot to answer for and I’m reminded of Dave’s Computer Tips’ ongoing battle for answers from Facebook as to why it is banned from said platform. Getting answers from these faceless organisations is like pulling teeth.