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Publishing rights snafu causes Alpha Protocol to be removed from Steam

Alpha Protocol

Sega has hit a bit of a problem with one of its IPs. Alpha Protocol, as developed by Obsidian Entertainment and published by Sega seems to have been pulled from sale.

“At the request of the publisher, Alpha Protocol is no longer available for sale on Steam,” reads a message on the Steam page. Valve updated said listing on Wednesday to reflect the change, according to Steam Database’s change log.

The game originally  launched for Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 3, and Xbox 360 in May 2010. It got mixed reviews when it debuted. The RPG had help from big names in the industry like Chris Avellone, but despite this, the mix of combat and RPG mechanics was panned by some critics at the time. Fans cite an incredibly detailed RPG system and interesting story as their main reasons for liking the game.

Alpha Protocol has been pulled from Steam after the music rights for tracks used in the game expired between publisher Sega and the original rights holder. Some initial confusion over this removal yesterday was cleared up by Sega in a statement to Eurogamer.

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The game used license music tracks like Turn Up The Radio by Autograph. And with the game nearing a decade old, Sega likely decided that it was time to let the game die a natural death rather than spend large sums of money renegotiating rights for the game which would be unlikely to sell enough new copies to justify the expense.

So while it makes perfect sense from a business standpoint, it sucks that this happened. It means that the only remaining avenue for those who wish to go back and play the game if they don’t already own it is to either hunt down a used copy or resort to piracy on PC. But if you’re on PC and you already own a Steam copy, you can still download the game as Steam will continue to host the files on their service, you just won’t be able to buy it anymore.

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