Order Of War: Challenge Is First Game Steam Removes From User Libraries
This marks a precedent where Steam has superseded their customer’s rights over what the game’s owners require.
Steam has finally removed a game from their users’ libraries for the 1st time. Said game is Order of War: Challenge, an RTS developed by Wargaming.net and published by Square Enix.
Order of War: Challenge is a standalone expansion to Order of War, focusing on online multiplayer, but also adding 18 single player missions. The whole game, single and multiplayer aspects alike, had online DRM that required to check in so that you could play the game. Metacritic scores rated the game a 70, indicating it was a decent game, if not a particularly great one.
Square Enix explained that they were unable to justify keeping the servers up due to the game’s low user base, and so they opted to take the game offline. Consequently, not only the multiplayer portion, but the single player missions are no longer accessible. For reference, the game was released October 10, 2010.
It's a shame that this precedent has been set. but I would like to point to a mitigating factor that may have led to the game’s early demise. You see, the game’s original developer, Wargaming.net, is busy building up their own servers for their MMOs. Their plans include launching a Unified Premium Account service, as well as a unified payment system for their games.
With these in mind, it no longer made sense for Square Enix to keep their servers going for Wargaming.net’s game, especially since they have their own online games to deal with. It is, of course, a huge surprise that this has led to Steam prying into their customer's libraries to get the game out, but this seems to be a situation where they have to follow what the game owners say.
Unfortunately, this reinforces the idea of the terrible precedent this starts to the disadvantage of gamers. Buying an online game has become an investment of a different form than a retail game. If you think about it, hoping your online game of choice sticks around is almost like playing the lottery.