Earlier this week, three Xbox Windows Phone 7 titles from Gameloft suddenly got delisted from the Store. It’s not totally unusual for games to be delisted; at the end of September a record-setting 11 games received the same treatment. But most of those games handled In-App Purchases (IAPs) via now-defunct Microsoft Points. None of the newly pulled Gameloft games had IAPs.
The main thing these latest delisted games had in common (besides their publisher and being Windows Phone 7 launch titles) is that all three went on sale on September 26, the same week as the mass IAP delisting. Head past the break for details and our speculation as to what happened.
The games we lost
The three games to drop from the Store this week are:
- Assassin’s Creed: Altair’s Chronicles HD: A mobile port of the 2008 DS game based on the popular console series. The Windows Phone game features decent 3D graphics and a fully voice-acted story. Other than poor controls for jumping and a too high price of $4.99, Altair’s Chronicles is a quality action title.
- Brain Challenge HD: Also a port of a 2008 DS and iOS title. Created to cash in on the brain training craze that Nintendo kick-started on DS, Brain Challenge is generally inoffensive and forgettable. But the Windows Phone version suffers from an amazing number of broken Achievements. Overpriced at $4.99.
- UNO HD: A single-player version of the classic card game. No replay value, but delightfully easy Achievements. The recent release of UNO & Friends rendered this version largely obsolete.
Why the disappearance?
I’m a fact checker. Sometimes investigating holds up a story a bit, but often it reveals new insights and produces a more accurate story. In this case, we held off while our contact at Gameloft tried to find out why the games were pulled. Unfortunately, Gameloft couldn’t get back to us by press time. We’ll update if they provide a statement down the line.
Anyway, my first instinct when a licensed game gets delisted is that the license probably expired. We’ve seen it before with Star Wars Cantina, Fast & Furious: Adrenaline, and other titles. But all three of these latest pulled games are still available on iOS, so it seems unlikely that Gameloft lost the licenses to them. Then again, who’s to say the iOS versions won’t get pulled a little later?
Another guess: maybe they were delisted because of the HD in their titles? As Windows Phone 7 games, none of them can run at what we consider high-definition resolutions (720P or greater). But Gameloft’s Earthworm Jim HD remains on the Store, so the HD in their names can’t be the reason either.
The only other commonality that comes to mind is the games being part of that sale from a few weeks ago. Could something have gone wrong when titles reverted back to full price? It sounds silly, but it is possible.
Alternately, I could see the games being pulled over quality concerns. I certainly pointed out their flaws (as I perceive them) in my article about the September sale. Brain Challenge in particular has long disappointed Achievement hunters. But Assassin’s Creed isn’t that bad, and UNO would be okay at the 99 cent price point.
For now, we’re left with no official explanation for the delistings. Gameloft could still come through with the missing details though, so never say never.
If you own any of the delisted titles, make sure you don’t delete them from your device. Once a game is removed from the Store, users who own it have no way to redownload it at a future date.