WTF?! If you have experienced the frustratingly annoying problem of
older Windows Live games not working, Rockstar has a solution — don't
buy them. The company has conformed that it has pulled GTAIV from Steam
because of problems that Microsoft's Games for Windows Liver platform
has caused, even though it could theoretically be fixed with an update.
Confused? Me too.
You may or may not have noticed that Grand Theft Auto IV is no longer
available on Steam. Although it is an older title, it is arguably the
best game in the GTA franchise. The removal of the purchasing link for
its page was because of problems with Microsoft's Games for Windows Live
Rockstar confirmed that this is the case in a statement to The Verge.
“Grand Theft Auto IV was originally created for the Games For
Windows Live platform. With Microsoft no longer supporting Games For
Windows Live, it is no longer possible to generate the additional keys
needed to continue selling the current version of the game. We are
looking at other options for distributing GTAIV for PC and will share
more information as soon as we can.”
Microsoft shuttered the Games for Windows Live store in 2013, marking
the start of a phase-out of the platform that launched in 2007.
Ultimately, Redmond decided that it did not make sense to continue GFWL
support as it was competing with Xbox Live, and ended support in 2014.
Players were only able to redeem points on one or the other. Plus it got
in the way of its plans for cross-compatibility.
Since it axed the platform, many users have complained about GFWL
causing problems with some games, including GTAIV. While there are
workarounds, they are quite a hassle. So much so that people have posted
lengthy guides on how to get the game to run.
In light of this, Rockstar decided to stop selling it until it finds a
distribution solution that works. Apparently, the company feels patching
GFWL out of a twelve-year-old title is not in the budget, but did not
specifically exclude this as an option. Although, it might not have been
so troublesome had the studio addressed the issue as other publishers
did back in 2013 when it was clear that the troubled platform was on the
What is even more confusing is that Rockstar updated the game not quite
two years ago to remove songs that had had their licensing expire. Of
course, deleting song files and altering the code that calls them is a
far easier fix than trying to sort out the GFWL mess.
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