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‘Grand Theft Auto IV’ No Longer Available on Steam

  • GTA IV can no longer be purchased on Steam.
  • Rockstar has released an official statement on the matter.
  • This doesn’t affect people who already own Grand Theft Auto IV.


Let’s start this story out bluntly; if you don’t already own Grand Theft Auto IV on Steam, you’re out of luck, at least for now. While you can still access the Steam store page for the game, the ability to purchase it is no longer available. At first, this seemed to have happened out of nowhere, which left attempts to pick up the game with a brick wall and uncertainty as both Valve and Rockstar failed to warn Steam users ahead of time. However, Rockstar Games has finally issued a statement to The Verge on the matter, and the reasoning may not be shocking for those familiar with past instances:

Grand Theft Auto IV was originally created for the Games For Windows Live platform. 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 GTAIV for PC and will share more information as soon as we can.

For those who have never heard of Games For Windows Live, let me break it down for you. Games For Windows Live was a failed iteration of Microsoft’s push to blur lines between the PC and console experience. Coming in during the Xbox 360 days, players could basically share their account between PC and console for the purpose of tracking their game activity that was ultimately poorly integrated, not liked by consumers, and basically just an entirely unnecessary feature. While today Microsoft’s PC/Console experience is a much better experience, they had to swallow a big reality pill in 2014 when they scrapped Games For Windows Live entirely. 

This put a lot of games utilizing the service into limbo and resulted in many companies either abandoning the games or finding alternatives. While Rockstar Games has hung in there years after the fact, it looks like they’re finally preparing to transition to an alternative method of key generation. Whether that method will remain on Steam, or move to their in-house game launcher/store is an entirely different matter. Although, if we’re judging purely based on their statement, I’d say it’s very likely it will remain on Steam. It’s also worth noting this probably could’ve been avoided if they had transitioned to a different key generation method sooner.

It’s a real shame whenever this happens, and it seems to strike at random. Games For Windows Live’s failures as a system affects games years after its 2014 downfall. There are even several games where players have had to actively find GFWL workarounds just to get them to boot properly. The upside is that the problems left behind in the wake of Games For Windows Live seem to become increasingly rare. Have you had a game that was previously using Games For Windows Live affected since its 2014 shutdown? Let us know down below.


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