In Two Days, iTunes Will Take This Star Wars Game Away

Illustration for article titled In Two Days, iTunes Will Take This Star Wars Game Away

My nephew's favorite iPhone game will be pulled from iTunes later this week because the people who released the game are losing the Star Wars license. This is what happens when video games are sold only as official downloads and not on discs. On any given day, they can disappear, and you may never be able to buy them again.

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The vanishing Star Wars game is called Star Wars Arcade: Falcon Gunner. It uses an iPhone's camera so you can treat the outside world like it's the full of swarming TIE fighters. You're in a turret, shooting them down like you're Luke Skywalker and you're getting cocky.

The game came out in November and got some hype when its creators set it up atop the Empire State Building and saved New York City from Imperial Invasion. It got another round of hype over Christmas when I showed it to my nephew and he started blasting bad guys.

Falcon Gunner will be pulled from iTunes after March 31, according to Josh Shabtai, the game's creative director who runs a small development studio called Vertigore. Shabatai says the game is getting delisted because publisher THQ Wireless lost their deal with the Star Wars licensing people. In a blog post, he praises them and Apple for their support, hypes his new games and mixes sadness with the recognition that his game fulfilled a 27-year-old dream: "We had a good run. We got to make a friggin' Star Wars game!"

Shabtai may be coming to peace with this, though he laments that we'll never get to see a Battle For Endor expansion nor the iPad 2 version of the game. He also signals a more severe threat: that all the Star Wars games on iTunes might vanish at the end of March 31. If true, that would mean no more Star Wars: Trench Run, no more Star Wars; Battle for Hoth, no more Star Wars: The Force Unleashed on iTunes, the App Store equivalent to when the Emperor ordered the simultaneous extermination of all of the Jedi.

We're checking in with THQ and Star Wars gaming company LucasArts for comment about which games are going where and what the future of Star Wars gaming on iPhone and iPad gaming will be. For now, we've got one game confirmed as being pulled. We'll keep you posted on what more we hear.

This is, perhaps, a cautionary tale of what gaming could be like if we couldn't buy games on discs and only in formats locked to specific digital stores.

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If you want to buy Star Wars Arcade: Falcon Gunner, click here before the end of the month.

It Is A Dark Time For The Rebellion [Shabtallica]

DISCUSSION

I've warned people about this for the longest time, but no one ever wants to believe me — digital distribution is a nightmare for the end user. Right now, we're in the new happy, glowy days ... wait until this becomes a regular occurrence.

Right now, some of you are thinking, so what - I'll download it now and I'll have it. Well, what if your phone breaks? You'll never be able to get it again — but you paid for it. Some people have more cost invested in the software on their systems than the system itself and the possibility of permanently losing it simply because a HDD fails is crazy.

Digital distribution is really only good for the big companies. If you believe otherwise, you've bought into the spin — you've given up control for nothing in return.