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Update: Spec Ops: The Line suddenly delisted from PC stores—for good

A 2K spokesperson confirmed that Spec Ops: The Line is no longer purchasable on many digital storefronts.

Justin Carter, Contributing Editor

January 30, 2024

2 Min Read
US soldiers in Yager's Spec Ops: The Line.
Image via Yager/2K.

At a Glance

  • Spec Ops: The Line's staggered PC delisting further highlights the industry's larger issues with game preservation.

Update (1/30/24): A spokesperson for 2K confirmed that Spec Ops: The Line's removal from online storefronts is permanent. The game was removed after the expiration of several unidentified "partnership licenses."

"Players who have purchased the game can still download and play the game uninterrupted," the representative added.

At time of this writing, the game was still available for purchase on the Xbox Store. Developers hoping to preserve a copy of the subversive 2012 shooter will either need to purchase it from there or track down a used physical copy on the secondary market.

Original story: Earlier this week, Spec Ops: The Line was abruptly pulled from a number of PC retailers, including Steam and Fanatical.

Originally spotted by Wario64, the shooter is listed as "no longer available" on Valve's storefront. At time of writing, neither 2K or developer Yager have given an explanation as to why.

Games get delisted on a regular basis. But Spec Ops' removal is so odd because it's still purchasable on some third-party PC stores, plus the Xbox Store.

If it gets delisted from more PC stores, Xbox will be the only way to purchase the game. Unlike other mid-tier titles from the 2010s, it's never received a modern remaster (or remake), and 2K's never indicated it'd get such a treatment.

Spec Ops: The Line and game preservation

Further, it goes to highlight how vital preservation should be for the industry, particularly as games from the early 2010s are gradually being delisted.

Spec Ops: The Line released in 2012 for PC, PlayStation 3, and Xbox 360. The game saw critical acclaim (mainly for its narrative), but failed commercially, effectively ending the military shooter series.

Game Developer reached out to 2K for comment, and will update when a response is given. In 2012, Yager's Richard Pearsey wrote about the game's narrative design and its development growth, which you can read here.

About the Author(s)

Justin Carter

Contributing Editor, GameDeveloper.com

A Kansas City, MO native, Justin Carter has written for numerous sites including IGN, Polygon, and SyFy Wire. In addition to Game Developer, his writing can be found at io9 over on Gizmodo. Don't ask him about how much gum he's had, because the answer will be more than he's willing to admit.

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