Far Cry 4 for the Xbox One disappeared from the Xbox Marketplace for a little while earlier this week, preventing some from playing a game they own. The problem was eventually solved, but the whole thing's left me pretty confused. What exactly happened... and why? Unfortunately, Microsoft's brief statement on the issue to Videogamer.com hasn't provided any real clarity.
Here's what the company told the publication:
"If customers own the rights to a game, they can visit their download history and initiate a re-download whenever they please -- even if the game has been delisted from Xbox Store and is no longer available for purchase," a Microsoft representative confirmed to VideoGamer.com.
This might be true, but it doesn't address what happened. Nothing about Microsoft's statement explains why Far Cry 4 was unplayable. Far Cry 4 was removed from the Xbox Marketplace, and it prevented Xbox One owners from playing. It's that simple. People couldn't play the game.
When I contacted Microsoft, here's what they told me:
"Yesterday, some users were unable to access their digitally purchased base edition of 'Far Cry 4.' Our team has resolved the issue and all access to the title has been restored. For any other inquiries related to 'Far Cry 4' please reach out to Ubisoft PR."
Ubisoft hasn't responded to me yet, but Microsoft runs the Xbox Marketplace, not Ubisoft.
Microsoft's policy isn't new, either. On Xbox 360, it was also possible to re-download games delisted from the Xbox Marketplace. This happened when publishers lost the rights to certain games. Take Smash TV, for example. Anyone who had already purchased Smash TV from Xbox Live Arcade could re-download Smash TV, but nobody could purchase a new copy of Smash TV.
Far Cry 4 wasn't delisted, as Ubisoft certainly remains interested in profiting from it. With Smash TV, it's cut-and-dry. With Far Cry 4, it appears a glitch left people unable to play. Unless you were reading Kotaku, Videogamer.com, or monitoring Ubisoft support, there was no way to know what was going on. You knew your game didn't work. When Far Cry 4 was having issues, I checked the status website for Xbox Live, and there was nothing mentioned about Far Cry 4.
That doesn't make any sense.
This isn't a new issue, not even for Far Cry 4. It's apparently happened to other games, too.
Glitches happen. It's not the end of the world. The lack of communication is what's frustrating.
Some readers have told me about similar issues with other games. Have you had this experience? Let me know in the comments or drop me an email. While this story is about issues on Xbox One, if you've had something happen on another platform, I'd love to hear about it too.