Forza Horizon 3 Is Being Delisted From The Microsoft Store, Here’s Why It’s A Big Deal

Forza Horizon 3 Is Being Delisted From The Microsoft Store, Here’s Why It’s A Big Deal
Image: Kotaku

Forza Horizon is being removed from the Microsoft Store in September, with all DLC and the base game set to go offline. While the game has long been surpassed by its superior sequel, Forza Horizon 4, its delisting is a disappointment in many ways. Those who already own the game will still be able to download it, but for everyone else it’ll become more difficult to obtain.

Digital delisting from storefronts is an important part of the lifecycle of modern games. Licensing agreements can end prematurely or companies can choose to take games down on a whim, stranding a game in the digital afterlife. For digital-only games like Scott Pilgrim vs. the World: The Game or even Silent Hills demo P.T., delisting can totally obliterate them from existence — and there’s nothing much gamers can do about it. After all, when you purchase a digital game, it’s not like you really ‘own’ it.

Delisting means gamers are no longer able to purchase a digital version of a game. In some instances, this means you’re unable to download a game again (such as in the case of P.T.) but many digital storefronts do provide a ‘ghost’ download for content you already own.

Forza Horizon 3 players who own the game digitally will be able to redownload it, but everyone who misses the September 27 cut-off will need to find another option. It comes just four years after the game originally released, an exceptionally short time for the franchise.

Forza Horizon 3 was released on a physical disc so copies will still be around, but the largest problem with physical media is that unlike digital games, it can be easily destroyed. DVD and CD discs have expected life cycle of 200 years or below. While it’s likely your discs will last longer than your lifetime if stored correctly, they’re also at the mercy of cracks, breaks and data corruption during their life cycle. Unlike digital media, these discs are far more vulnerable to the passage of time.

While games aren’t often regarded as an essential part of history, they tell important stories about the technology, values and beliefs of particular time periods that should be preserved. Games in the 90s told colourful, fun tales brimming with exciting, kid-friendly potential. Games in the later 2010s were far bleaker and explored themes like the futility of human existence and survival. They speak to the mindset, culture and technological capabilities of the generation they were made, just like classic films and TV shows. They’re equally worthy of digital preservation.

While a title like Forza Horizon 3 might not seem like the obvious choice for preservation, it still represents years of development, technological advancements and passion on the part of fans. Reducing digital availability for titles like Forza is bad for gamers and bad for history — but in the era of strict licensing agreements and cost-cutting measures, sometimes, it’s essential.

It’s an issue the industry will have to tackle sooner or later.

Forza Horizon 3 will disappear from digital stores on September 27. If you want to grab the game before it’s gone, it’s currently on sale for $13.18.


  • Fortune favours those who can re-download P.T.

    Although that makes me wonder. Are they delisting Horizon 1 & 2, and the Fast & Furious standalone thing? If not, then why just 3?

  • Those games are already delisted, I believe! They appear as ‘currently unavailable’ online. For all those games I believe it may have been a music licensing issue but the exact reason hasn’t been made clear.

  • Worst offender of dekisting is Disney/Marvel… so many games, most removed without notice. Like not even a FOMO sale.

    • God, and Activision with the Nickelodeon and Hasbro licenses too. They gave almost no warning for delisting Transformers Devastation and their other Transformers games. It ended up being delisted on Steam, PS4 and PS3 by the time I was able to panic buy the DLC costumes on Xbox 360. I could’ve done Xbox One at the time too and in retrospect I probably should have.

      At least I do own Forza Horizon 3 digitally so i can continue to play it on both Xbox and PC, but i don’t have all of the DLC, just Hot Wheels. Sadly I can’t justify the cost of grabbing it all, either.

  • Racing games need to move to permanent licences (don’t FIFA etc.). Seriously. It can’t be that hard to work out a decent deal, obviously it’s gonna be more expensive but I’m sure they can work something out at least for the bigger series’.
    Car manufacturers at least, know whoever’s making the games is gonna be coming back in a few years for a new permanent licence for the next entry. It’s no loss to them. Only negative is a slight increase in licencing cost to Devs if they negotiate well

    • my understanding was it is the music, not the cars causing this. FH3 already scrapped the groove music integration long before this happened. id rather the game remain for sale and toss the music (outside of i think its the “hospital records” station thats original music). the game is one of the best non pure simulation racers there is. FH4 beats it in many ways, but you cant beat that australian locale.
      once its gone from sale its only a matter of time until we have to worry about whether the game is gone for good. steam has a backup function and tbh you dont even need to use it, just copy paste the game files somewhere. but ms store games are so encoded that reinstalling windows even with the same username and drive path will make the files useless. wheres the backup option there?

  • This is a shame.. For me, FH3 is better than FH4.. The game has more racing straights, the map feels bigger and more variety.. Yes FH4 has the seasons, but seeing as I don’t love all the seasons, it means half of the time I’m playing in conditions I dislike..

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