Fable II pulled from Xbox Live

Lionhead's role-playing game vanishes from online marketplace with players unable to re-download previous purchases.

Lionhead Studios' role-playing game Fable II has vanished from Xbox Live, a GameSpot reader tipped the site this morning. The game is no longer available through the Games on Demand service on Xbox Live or via Xbox.com.

Additionally, the reader notes that Fable II remains in users' download history for those who had previously purchased the game. However, attempting to re-download the game results in an error.

The game remains playable for those who have it installed on their hard drive or flash drive and its Knothole Island and See The Future expansions remain available to download.

A Microsoft representative was not immediately available to comment. Additionally, Lionhead Studios had not responded to GameSpot's request for comment at press time.

Microsoft took a unique approach with Fable II on Xbox Live upon release in 2009, as it was released digitally through five chapters. The first, which introduced players to their hero's childhood and first experiences inside Albion, was made available for free. Upon completion of the first chapter, players had the choice to purchase the next installment to continue.

The Fable II: Game Episodes were also compatible with the disk-based version of the game, meaning players who had completed digital chapters could pick up where they left off should they decide to purchase the retail version.

The original Fable remains available on Xbox Live for $10, while most recent release Fable III is available digitally for $20.

Written By

Eddie Makuch is a news editor at GameSpot, and would like to see the Whalers return to Hartford.

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Discussion

3 comments
DarkofNight
DarkofNight

Okay people, don't get your little panties in a wad, it was an old game if the took it off it was probably because anyone who wants it has it or the figured: "Hey, Fable 2 has been on here for quite a while. Maybe we should take it down and anybody who wants it, can get it online, or AT THE STORE." Don't be lazy, go to the store and get it. Besides all of you who have read this have most likely played or own it so please don't have a heart attack.

theKSMM
theKSMM

To those who argue that the issue isn't digital downloads, but DRM, I think that they're separate issues.  Even without DRM, my digital libraries tend to be too big for me to realistically download and store them all at once.  That's one of the advantages of digital purchases; having my libraries "in the cloud" mean I only need to have the stuff I'm currently using on my local hard drive, which saves space.  This is especailly true on consoles with their relatively small storage spaces.

 

If I tried to download my entire digital game library, I'd need months of time and terabytes of storage.  It's not feasible.  So having a game pulled that I will probably want to access in the future is unacceptable.  Plus, as I mentioned to @Unfallen_Satan , it's a terrible move if your goal is to get *more* people using online / digital purchasing...it's just bad business.

SlimeSwayze
SlimeSwayze

Thanks for following up on my e-mail, Gamespot editors.  Sadly, I still can't download the game without having to pay for it again, but maybe they're still working on that...

flyingdutchdog3
flyingdutchdog3

 @dazanus 

To a fool common sense is a rare quality, so my pity is with you because things will never make sense ... It didn't take the fool long to respond with a  cliche that was sure to come ...

METALGEARNICK
METALGEARNICK

good im glad they pulled it nothing will ever beat the first fable swear on that all you released after jokes

Unfallen_Satan
Unfallen_Satan

From the comments I've read, I don't think it's a problem for many readers of this article. For the others, please, please understand what you are getting into when you make a digital or otherwised DRM purchase. Common sense is distinct from legality. You can't just assume if something goes against your common sense it is then easily challengeable in court. Almost all user agreements contain draconian provisions that both guarantee digital service provider rights and curtail your right to even challenge them in court. I argue the only real common sense in law is that (1) the more diverse the population the law is supposed to serve, the smaller the "common" sense, and (2) the fine text was too small or too obscure is no excuse for not knowing precisely what you are getting into.

TheCyborgNinja
TheCyborgNinja

...and this is why I only buy games on disc... Digital distribution (outside of PC) is so unstable. You can't resell stuff you don't want, you pay the same for a license as something with packaging, it eats up bandwidth, AND NOW can be erased from acquiring in the future.

Konuvis
Konuvis

And this is the reason why I'm against download-only titles.

Unfallen_Satan
Unfallen_Satan

Maybe this removal is temporary: a glitch or something.

 

Maybe MS is testing the waters for regular termination of access to digitally purchased games. As more and more games accumulate in the digital space over longer and longer times, removal of older ones is bound to occur at some point.

Thanatos2k
Thanatos2k

Steam would never do something like this.

fafafanta
fafafanta

the game is like 2.99 at gamestop people

sealsa3
sealsa3

unless microsoft gives me unlimited free storage so i dont have to pick and choose what i want to keep on my consol so that i have enough room to put my new fav title  on and still never redownload it again so if it does go missing i will have it. then the company is  going to hell this is why you go with Nintendo they wont make somthing they cant keep doing forever. and if they do its always in the safe zone

Lutrian
Lutrian

For those complaining about digital downloads and being locked out of your games, don't be so sure with digital copies.  With the whole DRM thing and game activation, you could easily get just as locked out of your physical copy as you would with a digital download.

farcorners
farcorners

I'm adding another "I DON'T LIKE CLOUD" message to the many already posted before me. If you don't have a physical product, you lose all your consumer rights and all control.

tgwolf
tgwolf

...I STILL won't get an XBox...Oh, that's right, this incident doesn't shake my resolve, I guess I got defensive for nothing.

sunyatanada76
sunyatanada76

you can still purchase this game on xbox.com,  go see for your self

steelmouth
steelmouth

The reason i hate cloud computing

GalvatronType_R
GalvatronType_R

To those who like digital (and giving up all consumer and ownership rights to faceless greedy corporations):

 

BATMAN: You made a serious mistake.

 

BANE: Not as serious as yours.

bongsyas_23
bongsyas_23

not releasing this for the PC was Lionhead's biggest mistake

X-RS
X-RS

lol wait till a whole new platform comes out and previous online services are terminated, you can buy all your favorite tittles AGAIN!

sunyatanada76
sunyatanada76

long live digital soon our entire lives will be up in the clouds

Jd1680a
Jd1680a

This would be ok if Microsoft were to give everyone who bought it a 3 month advance warning to download and make back up copies. Also let other people know on live fable 2 would be taken off the service if people were still interested in buying it. However, if this was all done without warning this would be completely wrong.

mariokart64fan
mariokart64fan

and  this is why i will never support digital full fledge games,  remakes ports (aka perfect dark or games from previous gens maybe) but current gen games are better off staying physical 

deathstream
deathstream

All this based on what ONE person experienced in the wee hours of the morning?

nate1222
nate1222

I don't mind digital distribution. My problem is with DRM. And cases like Fable II on XBL and GTA Vice City on Steam make my point.

 

You don't see these issues with GOG and some of Gamersgate's offerings. But, then again, GOG doesn't use DRM at all and a sizable chunk of Gamersgate's catalog are DRM-free. Consoles, by their very design, DRM the shit outta their games.

Unfallen_Satan
Unfallen_Satan

 @theKSMM I think digital distribution and DRM are inseparable in general. DRM is access control. Important even for physical media, which in itself is limited access control, DRM is indispensable for digital distributors. Otherwise there is a high probability that digitally distributed content will be liberally shared among consumers, from as small as a family to as big as a million downloads off Torrent. While a couple of digital distributors like GOG are taking a chance with consumer good will, it's highly unlikely that this will become the norm in the foreseeable future. In fact, I see every indication that digital access will be more and more restrictive.

 

On the other hand, I see cloud storage as a completely diffierent aspect. "Cloud" is a convenience service. It's open to all forms of electronic data. There are already commercial cloud storage services. The eventual evolution of digital distribution along the cloud path is that at some point, you will pay both a purchase price for digital games and a subscription fee for the merchant to store you game for you on their servers. Right now that is not the case because the publishers pay some fees to make their games available to third party distributors and, as you say, digital distribution isn't the norm and could use additional promotion. Somebody is paying the cost, right now it's publishers and distributors. Eventually it will be you.

theKSMM
theKSMM

 @Unfallen_Satan I'm no lawyer, but it seems to be bad business to shaft the early wave of consumers who have moved in the very direction that you would like to drive the market.  Spooking the front line of sheep isn't going to make it easier to herd the rest, if you know what I mean.

nate1222
nate1222

 @Thanatos2k

 Jusr recently, Steam removed GTA Vice City because Sony Music got their panties in a bunch over a Micheal Jackson tune in the game. So, yeah, Steam has ALREADY done this.

 

So far, the only digital service not likely to do this is GOG. And that's because they are DRM-free. So they can't just go into your PC and block stuff.

flyingdutchdog3
flyingdutchdog3

 @Thanatos2k

Don't be so sure ... I had two screw-ups and lost two games through Steam. Before you say it was something I did wrong, I can assure it was not. Because they were digitaly downloaded I lost my rights to those two games. From now on all hard copy editions for me ... Steam is not "god."  

Martyr77
Martyr77

 @fafafanta

 Yep a physical copy is. I can't imagine them EVER lowering the price that low if we went to all digital. Just another good argument against digital.

Bgrngod
Bgrngod

 @sealsa3 Nintendo won't make something they can't keep doing forever?

 

I can't believe anyone would say such a thing about the kings of abandonment.  They've launched, and forgot about, more peripherals than Sony and Microsoft have ever collectively released.

Unfallen_Satan
Unfallen_Satan

 @Lutrian Very true. Most of us who bemoan the rise of digital distribution implicitly compare it to the olden days when DRM was rare and restricted to offline techniques.

Thanatos2k
Thanatos2k

 @mariokart64fan This should be why you should never support Microsoft.  Could you see Valve pulling this?

Unfallen_Satan
Unfallen_Satan

 @nate1222 I assume your last sentence referred to digital distributioin on consoles instead of physical copies on consoles.

Unfallen_Satan
Unfallen_Satan

 @theKSMM A later article reported that MS pulled Fable II off XBL in error; that's that for this incident. I agree that making the game unavailable intentionally is contrary to the promotion of digital distribution. I don't know where we are in digital distribution, so digital distributors may well be reluctant to annoy customers atm. However, I am completely confident that it's only a matter of time before older digital content begin to be phased out. Before that becomes the norm, small tests, like this incident might have been, will pop up here and there so digital merchants can test the waters.

nate1222
nate1222

 @PETERAKO  @Unfallen_Satan

 Digital distribution is already the norm. The real issue is DRM. Which consoles have in spades.

 

At least with PC games, there are services like GOG and Gamersgate which don't DRM the shit out of everything.

DeadPhoenix86
DeadPhoenix86

 @nate1222 but the people who bought it before they pulled it. are still be able to play the game in its original state. but Rockstar is already planning to put it back on steam. because of some copyright they had to remove it.

DeadPhoenix86
DeadPhoenix86

 @flyingdutchdog3  steam isn't allowed to remove games that your already purchased. i should definitely send out a ticket.

 

Bgrngod
Bgrngod

 @Martyr77  

 

Well, do you think the price would be that low if digital did not exist?  There is a real good chance the competition from digital motivated them to push the price down.

nate1222
nate1222

 @Unfallen_Satan

 On consoles, even the physical copies are DRMed -in a way. Sony's games will only work on Sony's propietary devices. Microsoft and Nintendo? Same thing.

 

Then there's the absence of backward compatibility with most consoles. PC games rarely have that issue thanks to free patches and the digital versions being re-released with those patches.

 

I was once a console gamer myself. I didn't leave consoles because of the games; the games were great. I left because of the racketeer industry practices. Even with PC games, most of what I own are older (5th gen and 6th gen) games and PC ports of my old console favs.

Unfallen_Satan
Unfallen_Satan

 @nate1222  @PETERAKO I share your hope, PETERAKO, but I am reluctant to adopt such a definite stance. One reason is as nate1222 stated, centralized (online) DRM does not make a game on physical media any more palatable to me than digital distribution, as far as consumer rights are concerned. The other reason is the majorit of gamers may either favor or accept an all digital future. I don't want to deny them this future because I don't like it. We supporters of old school consumer rights can use this kind of opportunity to point out the risks with digital distribution, but I don't want us to force our views on others or the future.

 

I will say this, I will never buy digitally released, centrally DR managed games at more than 50% off regular price, but that's as far as I go to undermine that future.

flyingdutchdog3
flyingdutchdog3

 @Thanatos2k

 Actually Customer Support is not very good when it comes to losing games ... it had to do with a change of address and they basically said in a nice way, "Tough luck."

chdd
chdd

@Unfallen_Satan @DeadPhoenix86  

For Aussies, the Australian Consumer Law effective 1 January 2011 defines online sales to consumers located in Australia as under Australian jurisdiction. (When the Yu-Gi-Oh card game was pulled from X-box live, being unable to-re-download. I contacted the ACCC. After explaining my situation, they advised me that the consumer law applied because I had purchased the Points from a physical store. 

So, Microsoft had a choice: Stop X-Box Live access in Australia, or to refund my points. I got the refund.

flyingdutchdog3
flyingdutchdog3

 @DeadPhoenix86

 I didn't say they were removed. The point is I lost 2 games through Steam. They are not so unique and infallible to these kind of things  happening in whichever way you might lose digital software. I've had more trouble with Steam than with Microsoft.

Unfallen_Satan
Unfallen_Satan

 @DeadPhoenix86 I think your heart is in the right place. However, wherever the law is concerned, you must be both thorough and precise. Which law do you think protects you, and in what way? To put it differently, if Microsoft never permit those who bought Fable II to download it again, what wrong doing do you think MS has committed? I am no legal expert, but I can think of three areas that can be pursued:

 

1. MS has violated one of more contracts between it and its customers, most likely a terms of use or EULA for either the game itself or Xbox Live. From what I see of most EULA, arbitrary termination of access rights is a reserved for all digital distributors.

2. The contractual provision dealing with the termination of access violate existing law and is unenforceable. This is highly unlikely since the template for modern EULA has be scrutinized by legal experts on both sides; otherwise it would have been successfully challenged in court long ago.

3. MS, or a generic digital distribution in a genric case, has violated another law, such a consumer protection statute, in the way it exercised its right to terminate access even though that right is provided by contract and the contract itself is legally binding. This is a very tricky legal argument but I think the most likely to succeed.

 

In any case, you have to be specific in your grievance beyond "MS can't take away my right to access a game I bought digitally." To make such a legal challenge requires considerable effort, an effort I don't think will be made until the issue becomes much larger than just Fable II.

 

Oh, and you must make the legal challenge on an individual basis since almost all digital distribution platforms have dispute settlement through binding arbitrary AND waiver of right to class action provisions in their terms of use.

 

Yours is a case that I have feared for some time. Many people have accepted digital distribution but maintained an idealistic but incorrect view of their rights in such a system.

DeadPhoenix86
DeadPhoenix86

 @Unfallen_Satan  if they did so. they would break the law. even if publishers would remove the game. they still should give the option to download the game again.

if they in fact remove it from your list. they should refund the money you spend on the game. there's no excuse if they remove a game you payed allot of money for in the past. if this indeed the case. you should contact steam support. i can understand that allot of people have payed money for fable 2 and our unable to re download it again. Microsoft can be sued for this.

Unfallen_Satan
Unfallen_Satan

 @DeadPhoenix86  @flyingdutchdog3 What is the reason for this confidence? Does Valve grant perpetual, non-revokable licenses for games downloaded through Steam? Do publishers who offer games on Steam grant that kind of license to Valve?

 

I have like 100 games on Steam, so I am not dissing it in anyway. I am just curious how you know Valve isn't allowed to remove purchased games from Steam.

Unfallen_Satan
Unfallen_Satan

 @nate1222 You have a valid point. I am less critical of the cross-console and backward compatibility issues because it happens to fall within my comfort zone, but I understand your argument.