Just a day after we reported that one iPhone/iPad Star Wars game would be pulled from iTunes by Friday — and just hours after we received confirmation that all Star Wars iOS games would be yanked — we've learned that all of these games will be kept on iTunes after all.
"All Star Wars apps will be available until further notice," a spokesperson for THQ Wireless, publisher of the seven official iPhone/iPad games on iTunes, said in an e-mail to Kotaku.
Earlier today, the company had confirmed that all games would be pulled, but not wiped from the iPhones and iPads of people who had already bought the games. That turn of events, prompted by an apparent expiration of THQ's rights to publish Star Wars games, was pre-empted as the day unfolded.
Josh Shabtai, lead creator of Star Wars Arcade: Falcon Gunner, believes Lucasfilm agreed to allow the games to stay on sale as a result of Kotaku's coverage of his game's then-pending removal. He says he's received a "temporary reprieve with no confirmed end in sight."
The potential removal of THQ's Star Wars games caused a stir yesterday about the nature of game ownership in an era of digital downloads. While the Star Wars games were not going to be pulled from people's iPhones and iPads, the fact that they would disappear from iTunes meant that they wouldn't be able to be purchased, sold or even passed around anymore, not without some hack that let games locked to iOS devices spread widely. Games that are sold on physical discs can go out of print but still be passed around, sold at flea markets and just, generally, circulate. Digital games locked to an iPhone or iPad cannot.
THQ gave no indication about if or when there will be a new cut-off date for the games on iTunes. Calls yesterday and today to LucasArts, the Star Wars company's video game division have not been returned.
It's safe to wait to buy Falcon Gunner, Star Wars Trench Run, Battle For Hoth and the rest of the THQ iOS games for now. But for how long? We'll let you know what we hear.
Shabtai, meanwhile, is waiting to find out if he can update his game. He wants to get an iPad 2 update for Falcon Gunner to stop the app from crashing on the new machines. He wants to add the Endor mission. And there's Star Wars chess... he's got ideas about Star Wars chess.