In September, when Rockstar Games created its own PC games launcher, there was one particularly notable absence from the list of available games: 2008's Grand Theft Auto 4. Late last week, Grand Theft Auto 4 was delisted from Steam, closing off one of the few remaining ways to purchase a new digital copy of the game..
Last week, Twitter user Nittomata noticed that Steam had stopped listing the option to buy Grand Theft Auto 4, but still allows people to purchase the standalone expansion bundle Episodes from Liberty City.
In a statement to USgamer, a Rockstar Games spokesperson explains that the removal stemmed from being unable to generate additional keys for Grand Theft Auto 4.
"Grand Theft Auto 4 was originally created for the Games For Windows Live platform," reads the statement. "With Microsoft no longer supporting Games For Windows Live, it is no longer possible to generate the additional keys needed to continue selling the current version of the game. We are looking at other options for distributing GTA4 for PC and will share more information as soon as we can."
Rockstar has had to fiddle with Grand Theft Auto 4's digital release before. In 2018, as the tenth anniversary of GTA 4's release approached, Rockstar had to push an update to the game that removed over 50 songs from the in-game radio playlists thanks to expiring music licenses, including a few tracks added in Episodes from Liberty City. The patch also added in some new songs, but only to the Russian and Ukranian radio station Vladivostok FM.
The PC version of Grand Theft Auto 4 launched during the height of Microsoft's Games for Windows Live initiative; Rockstar never removed Games for Windows Live integration from the game after the service was discontinued in 2014, instead directing players to create and sign-in with a regular Xbox Live account.
While Grand Theft Auto 5 is still going strong with new Online updates and its predecessor GTA: San Andreas lives on through the Rockstar Games Launcher and current-gen console ports, it just got harder to jump back into Grand Theft Auto 4. It's a shame—somebody out there probably made a 2020 resolution to finally go bowling with Roman.