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Spec Ops: The Line from YAGER / 2K has been unexpectedly removed from Steam, as the store page is now delisted so it won't show up in searches and it can no longer be purchased.

It's not clear why it has been done, and no announcement has been made on it anywhere that I can see officially. So we're left to speculate for now. When this usually happens it's often some rights that expired that they don't wish to relicense or update the game to remove it like music, which Spec Ops: The Line had a fair few big names in so that's quite likely. Update 31/01/24: as I suspected, it's some licenses not getting renewed as per the statement sent to Kotaku notes - "Spec Ops: The Line will no longer be available on online storefronts, as several partnership licenses related to the game are expiring".

While the gameplay wasn't exactly all that special, but what many praised it for was the narrative as the developer tried to make it more meaningful than a lot of other shooters. For many it left a lasting impression so it's a shame if it will eventually be removed from other stores too.

For now at least you can still buy it from:

GOG (80% off until February 6th) - now delisted as of 31/01/24, 16:30 UTC

Humble Store (keys will likely run out) - Humble have now removed their offer as of 01/02/24.

Article taken from GamingOnLinux.com.
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38 comments
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whizse Jan 30
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Quoting: dirkdierickxyeah, you missed what made the game worth playing, the shooter action parts are not that special at all, the story is. completely marketed wrong. action junkies will wonder what all the fuss is about, and gamers that like a good story will skip it because it looks like an action game.
Sorry! Guess I should have planted a smiley at the end. It was a joke

But I'm sure there are people who did skip the story and robbed themselves of a fantastic experince.
This is the one misgiving I have about PC games being sold almost exclusively as digital release. It's too easy for someone to flip a switch and take them away.
Quoting: such
Quoting: melkemind
Quoting: LinasThis time-limited licensing is such bullshit. Basically building a self-destruct timer into the product.

Copyright, patents, etc. are generally misused nowadays. They were intended for individual creators to get compensation and credit for their work, not for corporations to hoard, exploit and fatten their portfolios.
How does that work for films? Or rather: how can music licensing work for films with seemingly little to no hassle once a deal is struck, but is a gigantic and recurring pain for video games?

Or, are movie industry execs stuck in neverending meetings about licensing this song for Apocalypse Now, or that bit of stock footage?

Clearly, something needs (re-)regulating here.

There are different kinds of music licenses. The most expensive one grants rights in perpetuity, which is typically the license purchased by television and movie studios. Or they might cut a deal with the artist (or more likely the record label) to pay a small royalty on every sale.

While video games are popular, they do not generate anywhere near the revenue of a top movie or television studio, so game studios tend to have less clout when negotiating music licensing deals
Quoting: melkemind
Quoting: LinasThis time-limited licensing is such bullshit. Basically building a self-destruct timer into the product.

Copyright, patents, etc. are generally misused nowadays. They were intended for individual creators to get compensation and credit for their work, not for corporations to hoard, exploit and fatten their portfolios.
While I agree that should describe the world, I'm not sure it actually does. Whatever nice sounding rhetoric has been said, either now or at the time the laws were first being defined, benefits for publishers were a big, and perhaps the biggest, part of the mix from the very beginning.
such Jan 30
Quoting: Mountain Man
Quoting: such
Quoting: melkemind
Quoting: LinasThis time-limited licensing is such bullshit. Basically building a self-destruct timer into the product.

Copyright, patents, etc. are generally misused nowadays. They were intended for individual creators to get compensation and credit for their work, not for corporations to hoard, exploit and fatten their portfolios.
How does that work for films? Or rather: how can music licensing work for films with seemingly little to no hassle once a deal is struck, but is a gigantic and recurring pain for video games?

Or, are movie industry execs stuck in neverending meetings about licensing this song for Apocalypse Now, or that bit of stock footage?

Clearly, something needs (re-)regulating here.

There are different kinds of music licenses. The most expensive one grants rights in perpetuity, which is typically the license purchased by television and movie studios. Or they might cut a deal with the artist (or more likely the record label) to pay a small royalty on every sale.

While video games are popular, they do not generate anywhere near the revenue of a top movie or television studio, so game studios tend to have less clout when negotiating music licensing deals
I get that, but I do think there's also the component of video games having a serious problem with balancing out the ol' art-craft-business chestnut (even if I do understand where it may be coming from - there's a reason so many of the bigger film productions are co-financed the way they are, and, similarly there's a different set of reasons for why video games are not).

I mean, Saints Row gets licensed music in perpetuity, but Rockstar's The Biggest Thing Ever 4 doesn't? Uh-huh.

There I go with my "video games are art" spiel (even if low art, I should add since I used the examples I did). Games getting delisted for this particular reason just bothers me on a deep level.


Last edited by such on 30 January 2024 at 9:24 pm UTC
CatKiller Jan 30
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Quoting: Mountain ManThere are different kinds of music licenses. The most expensive one grants rights in perpetuity, which is typically the license purchased by television and movie studios. Or they might cut a deal with the artist (or more likely the record label) to pay a small royalty on every sale.

While video games are popular, they do not generate anywhere near the revenue of a top movie or television studio, so game studios tend to have less clout when negotiating music licensing deals

Games publishers absolutely have the revenue to buy perpetual licences. But whereas film and TV studios want to be able to license their products for re-distribution and syndication - which is much easier to do with clear upstream licensing - game publishers would much rather not have sales of their old titles competing with sales of their new titles. So films/TV get the perpetual licence and games get the marginally cheaper temporary licence.
dpanter Jan 30
Quote“Spec Ops: The Line will no longer be available on online storefronts, as several partnership licenses related to the game are expiring,” explained 2K in a statement sent over to Kotaku. No specific licenses were named
https://kotaku.com/spec-ops-the-line-steam-delisted-removed-2k-licenses-1851209947
M@GOid Jan 31
Developers from this game were not happy during development. I remember a couple saying it was very difficult (a nice way to say their boss was a a****le) and the team disbanded after completion, hence why it never got a sequel despite being a well received title.

After reading about it, it became clear why the game lacked a bit of polish to make it a true AAA title. It was still worth playing, IMHO. Is the closest thing Linuxers got to Gears of War, but with a more realistic setting.
TheRiddick Jan 31
Quoting: Erimorality and ethics of war right in the middle

Probably why its been removed. Given current global events.
Quoting: TheRiddickProbably why its been removed. Given current global events.
No, it's probably music. IIRC it uses a few band songs, like Mogwai's Glasgow Mega-Snake, which was quite memorable for me.
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