‘Deus Ex Go’ To Be Completely Disappeared With Studio Shutdown
from the deus-ex-no dept
It’s a lesson that apparently keeps needing to be re-learned over and over again: for far too many types of digital purchases, you simply don’t own the thing you bought. The arena for this perma-lesson are varied: movies, books, music. And, of course, video games. The earliest lesson in that space may have been when Sony removed a useful feature on its PlayStation 3 console after the public had already begun buying it, which is downright insane. But while that was an entire console being impacted, the lesson has been repeated in instances where games and mobile apps simply stop working when the maker decides to shut their servers down, or purchased DLC disappearing for the same reason.
And here we are again, with the announcement that Onoma, previously Square Enix Montreal, is going to be shuttering some of its mobile games. The end result is not that new purchases won’t be available. Instead, the game will just not be a thing anymore. Anywhere.
Arena Battle Champions, Deus Ex GO, Hitman Sniper: The Shadows and Space Invaders: Hidden Heroes will be shutting down on January 4th. The games will be removed from the App Store/Google Play Store on December 1st, and current players will not be able to access the games past January 4th.
Effective immediately, in-game purchases are stopped. We encourage prior in-game purchases to be used before January 4th, as they will not be refunded. On behalf of the development team, we would like to thank you for playing our games.
Deus Ex Go costs $6 on the Google Play Store. You can go buy it right damned now if you wanted to. But why would you, given that the game will simply brick and no longer function in five weeks? And, more importantly, did any of the 500k-plus people who downloaded the game over the years know that it disappearing was a possibility? I mean, I’m sure that buried in the ToS is the standard “you’re just licensing this for as long as we let you” language exists, but I’m also sure that the vast majority of the people who paid for the game didn’t realize this would be a possibility.
I’ll also note that the announcement concludes by saying: “thank you for playing our games.” Not, notably, “thank you for purchasing our games,” since apparently nobody ever really purchased them at all. What I’d give to do some person-on-the-street interviews with folks who “bought” this game only to have it disappeared.
And on the point about it disappearing, I’ll remind the class yet again that video games are art and culture, and those types of things deserve preservation efforts that none of these publishers seem to even pretend to think about.
But it’s also a tragedy from a games preservation standpoint.
People made this game, people bought this game and people enjoyed this game, for years, and with the closure of a studio and some rights changing hands it’s now just going to cease existing in an official capacity?
Perhaps piracy and illicit storing of the game will do the preservation work that the publisher should be doing. Perhaps it won’t.
But leaving a piece of culture’s preservation existing at all at the feet of those the publisher would call copyright infringers is untenable. The least the publisher could do would be to release the source-code and figure out a way for fans to host the game themselves legally.
But that won’t happen. Instead, this game may well just disappear forever.