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Grand Theft Auto IV vanished from Steam this month, but the usual delisting suspects don’t seem to be at fault this time around.
Speaking to USGamer, a Rockstar spokesperson explained that the decision to remove the game from sale was the unfortunate result of GTA IV's earlier ties with Games for Windows Live, a platform Microsoft shut down back in 2014.
Because Games for Windows Live support was built into the original PC release of Grand Theft Auto IV, Rockstar no longer has the ability to generate keys for the title now that the service is dead and gone, and can’t continue to sell the game on Steam without a way to do so.
Microsoft pulled the plug on Games for Windows Live part way through 2014, a decision that led to a number of developers needing to quickly find an alternative service for fear of online play hiccups or the sort of issue Rockstar seems to be facing now.
Like many other major studios, Rockstar does have its own, first-party game launcher where many of its games are distributed, but the company hasn’t immediately said if the platform plays a part in Grand Theft Auto IV’s revival plans. Likewise, there’s no timeline for GTA IV to show up back on Steam either, with Rockstar instead telling USGamer that it is “looking at other options for distributing GTA IV for PC” and that it’ll share more information on those plans as soon as possible.