‘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.

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Companies: onoma, square enix

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Comments on “‘Deus Ex Go’ To Be Completely Disappeared With Studio Shutdown”

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16 Comments
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That One Guy (profile) says:

Pirates, as always, will be unaffected

Perhaps piracy and illicit storing of the game will do the preservation work that the publisher should be doing. Perhaps it won’t.

Story after story like this has really hammered home the point that to the extent that piracy impacts culture it’s by preserving it rather than harming it as some would have people believe.

If this game exists in any meaningful way past next year it will be in spite of the law rather than because of it, and that is all sorts of damning of both the law and the situation where a game or other form of creativity can just disappear because a studio shut down.

Paul Sassaman says:

Deus Ex Gone

This is incredibly disappointing. I bought Deus Ex Go back when it first came out as it was a new entry in the surprisingly excellent Go series. It ended up being the most challenging game out of the trio. I haven’t played it in a while, but every year or two I suddenly remember this exists and feel the urge to solve some puzzles. Guess that won’t be happening anymore in about a month…

Anonymous Coward says:

To put a more positive spin on it, just think of the thousands of hours of enrichment videogame publishers are creating for the pop culture ephemera obsessives of next century. Would a collection of early 20th century French cigarette cards depicting life in the year 2000 be nearly as interesting if there was a full set readily accessible in a company archive? Of course not! Same goes for apks of spin-off mobile games from franchises that had one and a half good entries over 15 years.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re:

It’s also a problem that’s easily fixed – just issue a patch to remove the DRM requirement before shutdown. This should be a no-brainer – you keep good will with customers who spent money with you while you were actively selling the game, and so make it more likely that they’ll agree to buy the next one, while any fear of piracy is moot because you’ve already announced you won’t be taking money from people who want to buy a new copy after the shutdown date.

Instead, they opt for this kind of damaging move, which not only devalues every product you offer, but makes it less likely that people spend money in any way, be that on individual games or on DLC, cosmetic items, etc. that the industry is trying to use to make up for its self-inflicted losses on first week sales.

Nemo says:

Just goes to show...

That if you can’t use it without being connected to the internet, you don’t own it. A few executive business-decision keystrokes, and it’s gone.

IO(broken)T, same thing. If they can shut it off remotely to avoid losses, they can, and will. Q over Q revenue growth demands it, and that’s a shitty, artificial business model created by Wall Street analysts. Only the short term matters, their own business model depends on that being the status quo, for marketing reasons.

Rekrul says:

Re:

SHHHHHH…don’t tell the GAS (Gamming As a $ubscription) crowd! They might start actually realizing the value of physical copies. Then I won’t be able to continue adding to my physical game collection here in mom’s basement!

Physical copies today are next to worthless. If the game is for computers, you can be sure you won’t be able to play it without letting it go online and get permission from the company’s servers. And can you even manually download patches for computer games anymore, or do you have to let the the game do it automatically by connecting to the company’s servers (in which case you won’t be able to archive it for the future)?

Even if its a console game, it will mostly likely be broken with serious bugs and you’ll have to let it go online and download a boatload of patches, none of which can be backed up. Not to mention that you’re typically only getting 60-75% of the game on the disc, with the rest being DLC that can only be obtained by letting the game go online to download it, and which can’t be backed up in any meaningful way.

Rekrul says:

At the absolute, very least, games like this should be required by law to display a prominent warning before users pay any money for them; “WARNING! You are only buying a license to use this game for as long as we see fit to offer it. We can withdraw the game at any time and you will lose your ability to play it. You are not buying this game, but merely renting it for an unspecified period of time, which is completely at our discretion.”

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