Expired licences signal end of production for Acti's Marvel games

Digital versions of publisher's franchise titles now offline

Activision has ceased production of all of its Marvel titles after the company's licence with the comic book publisher expired. Titles affected include Deadpool and various Spider-Man games.

The move was first noticed by NeoGaf user Delusibeta, who noted that Deadpool, Activision's most recent Marvel title, had been pulled from download stores on Xbox 360, PS3 and PC. Following that up, it quickly became apparent that the publisher's other Marvel titles had followed suit, with all Spider-Man, Wolverine and X-Men games also vanishing from PSN, XBL and Steam.

It was later confirmed to GameInformer that the games had been delisted because publishing rights and licences had expired, which makes it seem unlikely that the deal will be refreshed.

Activision has been contacted for further comment.

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Latest comments (9)

Greg Wilcox Creator, Destroy All Fanboys! 8 years ago
One more reason for physical games, kids. Modern games, good, bad or otherwise shouldn't simply "expire" and vanish for good overnight (especially if paid for and not downloaded or moved off a drive because one thought one could "always" have access to it)...
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John Thomason Studying Computer Science, University of Minnesota8 years ago
I have Deadpool on Steam and I can still download it from Steam. Whether that changes we will have to see.

Activision Download store has both Deadpool and its DLC for sale.

List of Steam Key Sellers (G2Play, etc) that have Deadpool steam key(discounted):

Edited 3 times. Last edit by John Thomason on 2nd January 2014 7:45pm

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Luke Herbert Game Designer 8 years ago
Slight optimism on my part in light of this news. Hopefully in the near future I'll be looking forward to the next game based on a Marvel character, rather than glancing over it and wishing it was as fun to play as the Arkham series. Not to be misinterpreted as 'I wish Marvel games were more like Arkham games.' That's just lazy and narrow minded development.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Luke Herbert on 2nd January 2014 7:56pm

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Show all comments (9)
Morville O'Driscoll Blogger & Critic 8 years ago
@ John

Your Steam version is safe. There's been many (many) games removed from the Steam storefront, and they all remain in customer's libraries (save for one game where the multi-player servers were shut-down, and the multi-player entry was removed). There's even a healthy (though somewhat expensive) trade in Steam keys for games that continue to activate on Steam, but are unavailable on the store. :)
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Rick Lopez Illustrator, Graphic Designer 8 years ago
This is why i will never get into digital games. Dont get me wrong, i have a few Digital games. But you will never see me spending the money I pay for a phisical copy on a digital game PERIOD.

It sucks that you buy a game only to have the license expire, when the publisher or IP rights owner decidedes to pull it off the servers.

It would be differant if I paid for a digital copy, but had the installer I can then burn on to disc or store on any storage media, make as many copies as I feel like to be installed and used later when ever I want. But no, the license is online, and can be taken away from you when the companies feel like. They take your money and run away. Leaving you without your money and without your games.

So if I ever have a hardware failure Im screwed, I lose everything.

This is just as bad as piracy in which but backwards, where the consumer is hurt. So seriously, if this is how its going to be with digital, let the piracy war begin again. It sucks to buy legitimate copies of something only to be screwed over.

They should do as with music, where you buy the file and you can do what ever you want with it. make as many copies as you want, store it on any media, play it on any hardware. In the case of music, you can convert it to one format to another so it can work in differant players. As DJ I usually buy my music to support the artists. However nothing keeps me from getting the music for free. However as with pirated copies, you usually get an infirior version.

At the end of the day, Pirates are going to Pirate, nothing you can do to stop them. However Piracy can be discouraged. And these events simply encourage more piracy. And the added bonuses phisical media can offer is a cool way to do it. The packaging, instruction booklets and CD sountracks artbooks are possible with phisical media. you have none of that with digital... and that new game smell. love the new game smell....
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Morville O'Driscoll Blogger & Critic 8 years ago
Well, I'm not sure how it is on consoles, but certainly on PC you do

1) Get to keep the game/license. As I note above, Steam games remain in customer's libraries, and can be installed/uninstalled as often as you wish (activation-limit DRM not withstanding). I'm pretty certain console digital games are the same, since it would open up a whole can of worms if a legitimately bought game was removed without refund or credit.

2) Some digital retailers do give install files. I'm thinking here of GOG, who gave the Fallout Collection away for free during December, and which has also been removed from various store-fronts due to licensing issues. The game remains in the digital library, and the installer can be downloaded from that library. The only reason I don't have the installer for it is because I purchased it on Steam, and the Steam client makes installer files unnecessary.

On that note, it strikes me as odd that GIBiz reports on the Marvel/Acti licensing issue, but not the Interplay/Bethesda Fallout rights issue, nor many of the other rights issues that have cropped up over the last year or two, like the Atari/Beamdog issues, the Atari/Hasbro issues, the Acti/James Bond licensing issues, etc.. Given the comments above, it seems people are unaware of just how often this happens.

Edited 2 times. Last edit by Morville O'Driscoll on 3rd January 2014 9:42am

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Two points:
Activision has ceased production of all of its Marvel titles after the company's licence with the comic book publisher expired
Read, "Marvel did not allow Acti' to renew licenses", rather allowed it to expire!

Secondly - DLC concerns will continue with this kind of unachievable content just vanishing at the whim of a disgruntled or bankrupt publisher. Already many are learning they do not own their content, and that whole "pre-owned" debacle hid a much more insidious situation that the media seemed to avoid reporting.

{NOTE - time the consumer game scene created a user "lockbox" or bank vault website arrangement for DLC... I called it first!}

The PC game scene could simply offer a better and more reliable delivery and retention route for premium content than untrustworthy and unreliable consoles (whatever the gen), Ouch!
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Andrew Goodchild Studying development, Train2Game8 years ago
This explains why XML had a massive sale on these games last month. (4 for the Spidey games, 15 for Deadpool, ok not exactly Steam, but for Activision on Xbox, quite impressive).

However, does the original licence not allow them to sell games already released under licence? That seems a bit of an oversight, although a lot of the more recent ones weren't made with a long tail in mind, I guess. I was humming and ha-ing about buying Deadpool on XML though.

It would be great to see some really good Spider-Man and Men games, but with Disney out of game making themselves, I really hope they are careful with the licencing deals.
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Jeff Kleist Writer, Marketing, Licensing 8 years ago
Activision lost the blanket Marvel license. Just as Capcom had to renew to sell the old games, so would they. To continue to sell them would have required an additional expense that they likely would never have seen a return on. Games make about 90% of lifetime profits in the first six months, and with a license as expensive as Marvel, you can see why they opulent spend it.

Deadpool by all appearances was a vanity project after High Moon made them a pile with Rransformers games I had fun with it. It's too bad Rafen will never get to make another Wolverine game, it was a lot of fun.

Honestly manganite tragedy is Ea losing Hasbro, because a family game night was a hoot. No more multiplayer.
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