In A Few Weeks, Minecraft: Story Mode Will Be Impossible To Download [Update]

Illustration for article titled In A Few Weeks, iMinecraft: Story Mode/i Will Be Impossible To Download [Update]

In the aftermath of development studio Telltale’s closure, games like Tales From The Borderlands and Batman: The Telltale Series were delisted from major stores like Steam and GOG. Now, that hissing green creeper has finally come for Minecraft: Story Mode. The story-based Minecraft spinoff is about to get delisted from stores. However, in this case, it sounds like even if you previously purchased the game, you won’t be able to redownload it once it’s been unceremoniously yanked from digital shelves.

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An update on the official Minecraft website warns that the impending removal will take place on June 25.

“As you might have heard, its publisher is no longer in business, which unfortunately means that Minecraft: Story Mode will no longer be supported,” the post reads. “If you have purchased these seasons, please download all remaining episodes prior to the service being discontinued in June.”

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It reiterates that people who’ve previously purchased Story Mode on Windows, Mac, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, PS Vita, Wii U, Nintendo Switch, Xbox 360, Xbox One, Android, or iOS should absolutely, positively download the game before that date. In other words, unlike other delisted games, which often remain available for redownload to people who purchased them before delisting, Story Mode will likely be gone for good come June 25. In an industry that already does a pretty miserable job of preserving its history, that’s an enormous bummer.

Update: 6/3/2019, 6:15 PM - An anonymous source familiar with the inner workings of Telltale games has informed Kotaku that even if you’ve downloaded Story Mode, you should make sure it’s fully updated and you’ve downloaded any localization packs you might need, because those come from Telltale servers as well.

Update 2: 6/4/2019, 3:00 PM - GOG has clarified that Story Mode will remain downloadable on its platform due to the way it structures publisher agreements. It posted the following message to its forum:

We’ve got quite a few messages from gamers about media news that Minecraft: Story Mode will not be downloadable after June 25th. We want to confirm that this is not the case for GOG.COM, as in our publisher agreements we make sure that delisted games remain available to users who bought them. Minecraft: Story Mode, as well as others on GOG.COM, will be available for those customers who purchased them before and will be downloadable both through GOG GALAXY client and DRM-free installers. Feel free to download it and play anytime you want. If any technical issues appear, you can contact GOG Support directly and we’re do our best to help you.”

Kotaku senior reporter. Beats: Twitch, streaming, PC gaming. Writing a book about streamers tentatively titled "STREAMERS" to be published by Atria/Simon & Schuster in the future.

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DISCUSSION

I’m just gonna be an old for a minute:

“BUT MUH ALL-DIGITAL FUTURE!”

It is broadly true that we have never owned the rights to the various pieces of entertainment we purchase; be they games with EULAs, films, albums, or what have you, we’ve only ever been purchasing licenses—and those licenses, limited as they were, only ever had a shelf-life equivalent to the life of the physical media they were stored on.

Digital-only purchases have made the relationship between consumer and provider much more stark in this regard: your purchase is only good for as long as the provider continues to offer access to the data necessary to make your purchase function.

If I purchase a bike, so long as I can supply it with parts and keep its chain greased, I have a bike.

If I purchase a car, so long as I have parts and fuel, I have a car.

If I purchase a game through Steam, the Microsoft Store, Epic, or what have you, the fact is that I only have the game for as long as download access is supplied—or the physical media I store my download on lasts.

I’ve been saying this since digital-only purchases became a thing, and I’ll continue saying it, because it’s objectively true: no part of this setup has ever been consumer friendly, and every person who’s been screaming that, “Digital-only is the only future; deal with it, peasants” needs to be reminded that they’ve bought into a model that is as ephemeral as their own worth in the world.