Grand Theft Auto 4 can no longer be download via Steam, and Rockstar says that the problem lies with the outdated Games for Windows Live system.
“Grand Theft Auto 4 was originally created for the Games For Windows Live platform,” says Rockstar via a 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.”
While GTA 4‘s Steam page still exists, you may notice that it no longer offers the option to actually download the game. This change was seemingly quietly made sometime last week. Some speculated that the problem could be related to GTA 4‘s soundtrack (Rockstar has struggled to preserve the GTA 4 soundtrack over the years) but it’s now been confirmed that the real problem has to do with the Games for Windows Live program.
For those who don’t know, GTA 4 on Steam was still dependent on the frustrating Microsoft Games for Windows system which infamously forced GTA 4 players on Steam to utilize an extra key and login in order to actually be able to play the game. It seems that the program is no longer capable of generating fresh keys for GTA 4, which means that it is also no longer capable of supporting new players via Steam.
So what happens now? Well, there seem to be two likely possibilities. The first is that Rockstar simply finds a way to remove the Games for Windows requirement from the Steam version of GTA 4. That would allow gamers to simply play GTA 4 via Steam using nothing by their Steam log-in information. That would arguably be the most welcome decision Rockstar could make in terms of pleasing as many gamers as possible.
The other likely possibility is that Rockstar is preparing to make GTA 4 (and maybe other GTA titles) exclusively available to download for PC via their own games launcher. While that would be frustrating for anyone who (somehow) hasn’t purchased GTA 4 via Steam over the years, it does make a lot of sense when you consider the ever-changing nature of the modern PC gaming marketplace.
Matthew Byrd is a staff writer for Den of Geek. He spends most of his days trying to pitch deep-dive analytical pieces about Killer Klowns From Outer Space to an increasingly perturbed series of editors. You can read more of his work here or find him on Twitter at @SilverTuna014.