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184

Three early Gameloft titles delisted from the Windows Phone Store

Assassin's Creed UNO Brain Challenge Windows phone delisted

Earlier this week, three Xbox Windows Phone 7 titles from Gameloft suddenly got delisted from the Store. It’s not totally unusual for games to be delisted; at the end of September a record-setting 11 games received the same treatment. But most of those games handled In-App Purchases (IAPs) via now-defunct Microsoft Points. None of the newly pulled Gameloft games had IAPs.

The main thing these latest delisted games had in common (besides their publisher and being Windows Phone 7 launch titles) is that all three went on sale on September 26, the same week as the mass IAP delisting. Head past the break for details and our speculation as to what happened.

The games we lost

Assassin’s Creed for Windows Phone

The three games to drop from the Store this week are:

  • Assassin’s Creed: Altair’s Chronicles HD: A mobile port of the 2008 DS game based on the popular console series. The Windows Phone game features decent 3D graphics and a fully voice-acted story. Other than poor controls for jumping and a too high price of $4.99, Altair’s Chronicles is a quality action title.
  • Brain Challenge HD: Also a port of a 2008 DS and iOS title. Created to cash in on the brain training craze that Nintendo kick-started on DS, Brain Challenge is generally inoffensive and forgettable. But the Windows Phone version suffers from an amazing number of broken Achievements. Overpriced at $4.99.
  • UNO HD: A single-player version of the classic card game. No replay value, but delightfully easy Achievements. The recent release of UNO & Friends rendered this version largely obsolete.

Why the disappearance?

UNO HD for Windows Phone

I’m a fact checker. Sometimes investigating holds up a story a bit, but often it reveals new insights and produces a more accurate story. In this case, we held off while our contact at Gameloft tried to find out why the games were pulled. Unfortunately, Gameloft couldn’t get back to us by press time. We’ll update if they provide a statement down the line.

Anyway, my first instinct when a licensed game gets delisted is that the license probably expired. We’ve seen it before with Star Wars Cantina, Fast & Furious: Adrenaline, and other titles. But all three of these latest pulled games are still available on iOS, so it seems unlikely that Gameloft lost the licenses to them. Then again, who’s to say the iOS versions won’t get pulled a little later?

Another guess: maybe they were delisted because of the HD in their titles? As Windows Phone 7 games, none of them can run at what we consider high-definition resolutions (720P or greater). But Gameloft’s Earthworm Jim HD remains on the Store, so the HD in their names can’t be the reason either.

Brain Challenge for Windows Phone

The only other commonality that comes to mind is the games being part of that sale from a few weeks ago. Could something have gone wrong when titles reverted back to full price? It sounds silly, but it is possible.

Alternately, I could see the games being pulled over quality concerns. I certainly pointed out their flaws (as I perceive them) in my article about the September sale. Brain Challenge in particular has long disappointed Achievement hunters. But Assassin’s Creed isn’t that bad, and UNO would be okay at the 99 cent price point.

For now, we’re left with no official explanation for the delistings.  Gameloft could still come through with the missing details though, so never say never.

If you own any of the delisted titles, make sure you don’t delete them from your device. Once a game is removed from the Store, users who own it have no way to redownload it at a future date.

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Reader comments

Three early Gameloft titles delisted from the Windows Phone Store

184 Comments

I hope they delist the rest of these Xbox games and stop releasing new ones to solidify my leaving the WP platform after supporting it since WP7 released. Xbox games are the only differentiator between smartphones for me, stupid as that may sound.

Where ya going? Android, iPhone? MotoX looks pretty damn nice you ask me. I'm going to stick it out till my upgrade but no promises on where im going, or staying.

Without Xbox games as the differentiator it comes down to hardware for me, not OS. Just need internet, text and calls if. Never owned a smartphone outside of WP (spent a lot of years building power plants outside the US in poor countries)

Couldn't tell you were joking. Gotta make it obvious. :)

Complaining about bad news is fine, really. It's actually the hardcore fanboys who think Microsoft or their company of choice can do no wrong that worry me.

Haha mike don't leave! You're the funniest guy in the comments. I always look forward to your comments. Don't leave me bro ;'(

There's also:take over control, and an even more recent ID who sounds exactly like safe and sound.
he must get banned alot x)

If only you guys knew how many of his accounts we've banned in the last month alone. We don't let them stick around once they've been detected.

Weird...I just bought Uno HD when it went down to 99 cents a few weeks back.  Wish they would update the graphics on that thing.

Oh my god, I'm so glad that finally someone is waiting the same game like me, just can't believe I can't download this on wp8

Same here, crap that app is updated for the iPhone 5 but, they can't even update it for Windows Phone 8 ?
 
I loved that game, it was a blast...and after I lost it going to WP8, I contacted MS and got a refund after 8 months with out it.
 
It's sucks, if they released it today for $2.99 ($2 more than iOS), I would buy it today...

As a huge gamer, I can never take "mobile" device gaming seriously foe the reason you stated. Even my PS vita get little love. Module devices are a great platform for games like puzzles, match gem games, stuff like that.

Yeah, I totally wanted to throw my phone out the window. I vowed to only buy casual games on my phone from that point forward.

But many people do enjoy platformers and other console-style games on the go. Otherwise they wouldn't keep making them.

And font update your phone. Amber/GDR2 bricked my L920. AT&T gave me a refurb. Now I've lost a bunch of titles, including the only Nest control software for WP.
Good work Microsoft!

Voice your concerns to customer service and you'll probably get something to make up for it.

I would not do that, they tend to refund 2-3 at a time... I've heard of people asking for 7-10 apps refunds and they got turned down...

Your better off doing them 1-2 at a time..

I just a few weeks bought Brain Challage HD, for some reason, I have to reset my Phone. When I want to reinstall it, it was gone. Such a waste... -_-

Damn it! I own(ed) all these games. I'm getting tired of being screwed. I'm done buying for WP for a while. This is a big mistake by the WPStore (Microsoft) to be screwing us paying customers like that. Utter bull.

Yeah, I don't understand what's so hard about just making it so you can't purchase apps anymore, but can still reinstall them. They should at least auto-refund anyone who bought it very recently, like within the last 30 days, since they can still charge-back against the developer's account.

Yeah, we should be able to reinstall any app/game for at least 5 years. They should provide an easy per-app backup so its stored on our own computers too (still needs to verify with MS on install to be useable & disallow piracy).

Contact their chat support, they gave me a free month of Zune pass for my troubles (the 15 dollar old school one).

It really irritates me when companies pull this kind of stunt. When I buy a game it should be available to me until the OS is no longer supported.

Not until the OS is supported, but forever. You have bought and paid for a perpetual license, therefore you should be able to have access to the game for as long as you like.

Agreeed 100%...they should pull it from the marketplace but, allow past owners of the app to download it...This is BS...

Damn.?! I owned the Assassins Creed.. Haven't finished it yet and just recently had to factory reset my phone. Grrrr....

That is stupid. I uninstalled most of the smaller casual games to make room for halo (8 gb on lumia 820). After i finished it lots of my purchased games were gone already... no brain challenge anymore :(

Dunno about the experience on WP (if my Lumia 720 can even take it) but I really enjoyed Assassins Creed Altair's Chronicles HD on my webOS tablet.

well... any kind of game like this would suck on touch screen, no matter what. so while the game was good, it still stupid to play on touchscreen if you want to have fun.

The only game i had was assassin creed. The control system was the worst!! Glad that the game isn't on the score. Less folks will get suckered into buying a bad game.

I bought Uno HD and already unistalled it since I had all the achievements. Assassins Creed on the other hand, I guess I'll have to spend more time playing it...just in case I need to reset my phone. OK. I haven't paid anything for the game as I got it when that glitch made it free. But still. Pitty it got delisted. Hope it returns. It was a nice little game, despite minor flaws.

It was quickly fixed. Too quickly for a real promotion. You're the only one who says it wasn't a glitch. Do you work for Gameloft? If not, then how can you be so sure when everyone else (including WPCentral) said the contrary?

I knew you were messing around first time around. Just didn't want the OP getting his knickers in a twist. Now look what you did!

I got Assassin's Creed when it was free a while ago. The controls sucked. Didn't know it was a DS game.

I don't like when they do this. I feel like I've wasted money when I can't redownload something I've purchased. Or cheated.

I guess I won't be resetting my phone to get back 7GB of other storage then, think I bought all of those.. They really need to base their store on steam and not apple..with steam you can ALWAYS redownload stuff you bought

I can't access the report right now, but I'm sure a google search will have people talking about it. It's only 1-2 games that I know of, but it does happen. Just 'cause Valve are generally good, doesn't make digital goods on their service future proof. You're simply naive if you come anywhere close to believing that.

I've only read about them delisting greenlight games that were in breach of policy (contain erotica or whatever) or were badly broken and were temporarily taken down to stop new people buying them (such as War Z). I'd like to know if there are any other cases out there, as I haven't been able to find any.

Gameloft are complete tossers when it comes to customer service. I bought Lets Golf 2 for my N8 but it became incompatible when Symbian was updated to Nokia Belle. Gamelofts response to me was basically tough luck and they have no interest in updating the game for Belle and no refund either.
For this reason I have vowed never to buy a Gameloft title every again

This world is bad, I know. But you can't win by doing that. Just cause his face sucks, doesnt mean he got no brains. :)

Suing them was not really an option. The game cost a mere £1.50 and to take them to court would have cost hundreds. Then I would have lost the case because the game was advertised and sold to work with Symbian Anna. They had no responsibility to make it work on Symbian Belle.

You could have tried hiring a lawyer on contingency bases, the problem is you can't do that in most cases in the UK, so far I believe thats only allowed for personal injury claims.
But at the end of the day it really depends on how much you care about your 1.50gbp and how much you care about getting back at the developer for poor support.
 

That would be the only reason for launching a law suit, the principal of the matter rather than losing an insignificant £1.50.

man! I just boaght my lumia yesterday I been trying to find brain challenge since yesterday and now this!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I love that game!! 

You should still get a refund, just because you were smart/lucky enough to take an advantage of a time limited offer does not mean you are not entitled to get fully compensated for loosing your license, or in other words for Microsoft stealing your license without adequate compensation.
 

This is why a local download and install would be good like iPhone has it. It stores all the .ipas on your computer if you use it to download from. Even if they delist/remove it, you at least have a copy you can install from. Yes WP8 has offline install, only for removable storage though. I think the WP app on Win8 should do something like what iTunes does for Apple, local backups of the phone and app package backups. Its really lame that we pay and in the end we lose, like some people just bought it a couple days to weeks back and now its gone and if they have to warranty their phone or hard reset they lose their purchase.

WebOS also kind of stores it. The installation files are accessible when you activate developer mode (can be done on any device for free) and you can re-create the IPK file from there using the SDK or IPK Packager. I agree that either that or the iPad way is better than how WP currently handles it.

The lack of these restore features and app backups is just another reason why WP is failing (or rising so slowly) is so many markets. It might not affect everyone, but if you are unlucky enough to loose all you stuff you will be pretty pissed off at WP and Microsoft for not having a full backup and restore feature like they did on Windows Mobile which apart from the UI is still a better platforn now then WP is, when it comes to certain key features.

I owned Assassin's creed and UNO HD which i bought few days back when it was on sale, terrible decision from Gameloft, Microsoft shoudlf allow customers to redownload paid apps and games.

I'm not sure if this has been covered before but I have brought many WP games but uninstalled them due to memory restrictions. Am I in my own right to seek a refund for something I have brought but never played?

Why is it that MS can get away with taking something from us that we paid for? On a phone with no SD card, there is no easy way to get games or apps onto your phone that has been removed. The Windows 8 / RT store doesn't do this. I lost Galactic Reign on my Samsung Series 7 Slate and even though it was delisted from the store, it was still available for download from the my apps section. This must surely change for WP store as those stores become one.

Yeah but you can download the other one for free. I guess I just don't see delisting as the problem. At least when it comes to Uno.

Well this isn't just about Uno is it? None of the other games have relevant replacements 'yet'. So what if Uno Facebook is out? That doesn't make any of this right.

Great now I can't finish Assassins Creed because I had to send back my L920 to Nokia because it was bricked during the Amber update.

glad i didnt delete my AC yet when i got it free via wpcentral... instead of delisting, they shouldve have gave it away for free. lol

I don't understand but MS should not put expiry date for games,, this is not good to the windowsphone store.

Yes I agree. There's no need for Microsoft to put expiry dates on Windows Phone games since delisting could affect the WP Store's app count. Also there's no need for Gameloft kowtow towards Microsoft but instead ask for a new license for the delisted WP games to be updated with full Windows Phone 8 compatibility.

The real problem here is that they are deceiving customers. It would be fine if at the outset they clearly stated "you are buying a license to use this game for..... [1y or 2y, etc].... but the fact that they just sell it to you then pull the plug and they don't even bother to automatically refund you the money you spent on it or compensate you for the loss of an enjoyable game is unacceptable.
They are selling perpetual licenses for these apps and then just randomly stealing those licenses back whenever they want.
 

Microsoft seem intent on annoying WP8 users.....why should I have to approach MS for refund, they know i bought this games, they have my card details, they should automatically bloody refund me!

That's what is getting to me. They're more than happy to refund customers who realise what has happened. But hope the people that don't, never will.

At this rate of delisting games I din't think a simple refund is good enough anymore, we need to start asking for aditional compensation for the damage this causes, e.g. Loss of Enjoyment of Life. or just file a lawsuit and ask for punitive damages.

You have to approach them because they are not removing the games from your device. There's a small number of people that will want refunds. I paid 99 cents for Uno and AC. I'm satisfied with what I played and will never want play them again. It wouldn't make sense for them to refund everybody as once from a business standpoint.

What I'm really concerned about delisting games are the acheivements they come with. Even if you still have the game and its license expires, the acheivements won't go through the xbox servers, instead it will just play the acheivement sound, but no acheivement is unlocked. (eg. Doodle Jump, launch title Angry Birds)

Ah right, it's a good excuse for me to get through it quickly. I got it a long time ago but didn't play it very much at all.

Not related omgitsnick, games delisted on the store are not going to disappear from one's gamer card. I completed Too Human way after it was pulled from stores by court order.

It won't disappear from your gamer card - he's saying that you might not be able to unlock achievements. I don't have any way to verify this one way or the other though.... actually, I have the original XBL version of Angry Birds - I'll see if I can still get achievements and report back.

I have good news and bad news... the good news is, that I got an achievement in Angry Birds successfully (for completing chapter 3). The bad news is that I had to play Angry Birds to get it :(

Ha, feeling some buyer's remorse? I own several of the games myself even though I don't enjoy them at all. But owning them makes it easier to write about 'em, s'why I got them.

Symbian allowed us to download the installation SIS files for us to store safely in case we needed to reinstall an application at a later date. Obviously, Windows Phone is more concerned with piracy but still, to block people completely out is over the top.

This type of thing is why I'm nervous about going all-digital on my Xbox one/ps4 games. I'm sure it's not common to delist games like it is on a mobile device, but still... At any time a game you paid good money for could be pulled, and I don't really like that. Regardless, I still plan on downloading all my next-Gen games, lol.

Same here I had no problems with any of my Steam games, but over 6 of my WP games have dissapeared over the past 1 or 2 years.
If Microsoft was not so quick with their refund I would have filed a lawsuit by now, because this sort of behaviour is absolitely unacceptable.
 

Valve never removes games from your library. Even if a game is removed for whatever reasons, if you bought it at any point, you will still be able to download it.
 
Plus I read in one of the interview with their CEO that if Valve decides to close Steam Down.. It will remove the Steam DRMs and allow you to have a copy to install without steam. But Steam going down is highly unlikely..

You should ask for damages as well not just as simple refund. Theft of your app license should not be tolerated.

What if... It is because the Windows Store and Windows Phone Store are beginning to merge? Like they are preparing their games for it...?

Without Xbox games as the differentiator it comes down to hardware for me, not OS. Just need internet, text and calls if. Never owned a smartphone outside of WP (spent a lot of years building power plants outside the US in poor countries)

I'm a bit pissed since I own all three and bought two of them when they were on sale last month. I don't mind games being delisted but I bought it I should be able to back it up or download it again forever like Steam.

I am really getting sick of this corporate theft. I paid for the damn apps and Microsoft or anyone else does not have the right to steal them back anytime they want.
Refund is not always an adequate solution, because it does not really compensate the enjoyment I got from the app and all the time and progress I made in a game that is now wasted.
If publishers want to delist stuff for sale that is fine, but they have no right to delist the titles for the people who own a licence to use them.
This will be at least the sixth time I will have to contact Microsoft to get another refund for my stolen property and I am getting sick of this.
Maybe its time someone files a lawsuit and asks for punitive damages so this sort of criminal behaviour is once and for all stopped.
The bottom line is from now on I will think very hard about buying anything from the WP or Windows 8 stores because at this point Microsoft just cannot be trusted.
 

Sigh....More apps that I own.... Crap that's like 5 now.. I own 2 of these...
 
I guess I should finish up the last achievements on it (AC controls sucks), say good bye and remove them for good...

Just got myself 2 of these refunded... I like Valve's policy more.. If you buy it once you have it even if it gets delisted.

I was able to download XAP of ACAC from the Windows Web Store today, any way to install it on a phone with SD?