Forza fans check your Xbox messages: Free copies of 'Forza Horizon 4' are going out to some players

Forza Horizon 4 Series 37 Update Image
Forza Horizon 4 Series 37 Update Image (Image credit: Playground Games)

What you need to know

  • Forza Horizon 4, developed by Playground Games and published by Xbox Game Studios, is being removed from Xbox Game Pass and delisted from storefronts.
  • Playground Games has announced that the game is in "end of life" status.
  • Players who purchased a digital or physical copy of the game will continue to be able to play it after it is delisted.
  • Xbox has begun issuing copies of Forza Horizon 4 to players who purchased DLC for the game but accessed the base game via Xbox Game Pass.

It was previously reported that Forza Horizon 4 is to be delisted at the end of this year, according to developers Playground Games. The title was released in 2018 to critical and commercial acclaim. Like previous Forza titles, the game will be removed from storefronts and Xbox Game Pass as the licensing agreements for music and cars come to an end. 

Xbox messages have begun going out to Xbox Game Pass subscribers who have purchased DLC with a free copy of the Forza Horizon 4 digital Standard Edition to keep. Users must have a fully paid (not discounted) Xbox Game Pass subscription as of June 25 and have purchased add-on content for Forza Horizon 4. If you are eligible for a code, you can find it in your Xbox Message Center. Code distribution is staggered, so some users may need to wait a few days before their code is delivered.

Forza Horizon 4 is set to leave Xbox Game Pass and be delisted from storefronts, including Steam, on December 15, 2024.

Forza Horizon 4 Optimized for Xbox Series X|S - YouTube Forza Horizon 4 Optimized for Xbox Series X|S - YouTube
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Xbox's announcement that all first-party games would join the Xbox Game Pass service and remain there in perpetuity has been tested by the expiration of game licenses in the past. Quantum Break previously left the service because of suspected licensing issues, though it was eventually added back to the catalog. Licensing issues may, in part, be what is causing delays in the recently acquired Activision Blizzard King properties from making the way to Xbox Game Pass. Forza titles are regularly delisted as they reach end-of-life when the licensing period comes to an end, revolving around car brands and music licensing. Of course as noted, if you own the game, you get to keep it forever. 

More players have embraced playing base games via Xbox Game Pass, then purchasing DLC or other content upgrades they can no longer access when the game leaves the service. Providing free copies of the game, as Xbox is doing with Forza Horizon 4, seems to be a way to get ahead of a negative customer experience. This ensures that even when the game is delisted and removed from Game Pass, it is still available to those who have invested in it. It is unlikely this benefit would ever expand beyond first-party properties leaving the service, however. 

Despite being removed from storefronts on Xbox, the Microsoft Store, and Steam, Forza Horizon 4 will remain playable for those who own the game, complete with full multiplayer functionality. However, the Festival playlist will close with the end of Series 77 on August 22. The end of the Festival playlist will also lead to some of the game's Xbox achievements becoming unobtainable. 

Cole Martin

Cole is the resident Call of Duty know-it-all and indie game enthusiast for Windows Central. She's a lifelong artist with two decades of experience in digital painting, and she will happily talk your ear off about budget pen displays.