For an odd moment Monday afternoon, the whole library of games from the studio Rockstar Games disappeared from the online game distributor, Steam. While not common, the disappearance probably was due to an internal error, an error that was quickly fixed. Minutes later, the games showed back up on Steam. But some games which had been discontinued from the platform also showed back up, but only for a few minutes.
The games which showed up for that brief minute were Grand Theft Auto, Grand Theft Auto 2 and Midnight Club 2. The scant glance behind the digital curtain ought to be a reminder that a fair few games like Rockstar’s are victims to rights disputes that sink them into oblivion.
All three of the games were originally delisted in 2018 due to a dispute with Rockstar and the owners of licensed songs featured in each of the games. There is nothing wrong nor broken in any of the three games; it is simply no longer legal to sell them.
We are in an interesting era of game development where companies can posthumously (or, post-game-releasusly?) alter, or poof their games into nonexistence if they so please. The advent of game patches and updates has wholly changed the process of game development and, in many corporate cases, prioritized unrealistic release deadlines by offering fixes after release through patches.