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Ah, the digital age of licensing agreements and propriety. It brings a real smile to my face knowing that fan-favorite games can never be played again unless you head to a torrent and pirate the crap out of the game. Actually, no it doesn't bring a smile to my face, it brings a frown and a creased brow because I'm left wondering what happens to a lot of games that aren't purchased day-one and get removed from digital storefronts after the license for specific forms of content within the game expires? Well, this is an issue we'll be dealing with a lot from now on, considering that the advent of digital distribution is in full swing and games are being axed from the storefronts left and right. Six digital victims have been claimed in the latest delistings on Xbox Live, including Sega Rally Online Arcade and Kung-Fu Strike.
Just recently we reported on why Grand Theft Auto: Vice City was no longer available on digital distribution portals and that the whole thing fell apart between a licensing deal between Rockstar and a member of the RIAA.
XBLA Fans has a list of additional games being delisted from digital distribution, including:
Sega Rally Online Arcade
Merv Griffin’s Crosswords
I'm really curious as to why Kung-Fu Strike is no longer available. If you check the Live Marketplace you'll notice it's no longer available for purchase. It's a bit baffling because the game just came out in late summer for XBLA and PC. It's obviously not an issue related to licensing because the game is still available right now on other distribution portals, including Steam.
Chalk another win up for physical media distribution. This really doesn't make me happy about everything going digital, especially with copyright holders always cracking down on piracy, even though sometimes – like in the case of blocked or delisted digitally distributed games – it's the only way to gain access to the content.