As part of its annual QuakeCon festivities, id Software surprise-announced a launch of all three “original” Doom games on modern consoles on Friday, effective immediately. That was solid news for PlayStation 4 and Nintendo Switch owners, who’ve yet to get ports of Doom, Doom II, or Doom 3: BFG Edition.
But the news was different on Xbox One, where all three games had already received digital-download ports thanks to that platform’s hearty Xbox 360 backwards-compatibility program. And on Friday, Bethesda gave those version’s holders a rude awakening: the company completely delisted those Xbox 360 versions.
As of press time, those games’ original SKUs can still be found in Larry “Major Nelson” Hyrb’s definitive Xbox 360 backwards-compatibility list, along with reminders that those games came back to life on Xbox One consoles in 2015 and 2016. Clicking any of the affected Doom games’ listings right now, however, leads to dead Xbox 360 content pages, the kind you might find for delisted Xbox games like Marvel Ultimate Alliance.
Owners of the original licenses are not redirected on their consoles to the new SKUs, and as of press time, those games’ original owners are asked to pay full price to play the new, Xbox One-native versions of those classic games ($ 5 each for Doom and Doom II, $ 10 for Doom 3).
Wait—they removed online play?!
These new SKUs both add features and take features away. Both of the first two Doom games now come with native split-screen play in both deathmatch and co-op modes for up to four players, a first for an id Software-produced version of either game. However, Doom II‘s Xbox 360 version originally launched with a console-exclusive expansion pack, “No Rest For The Living,” and that has not been brought back in today’s new Xbox One version. Worse, both of the first two games have lost all of their online gameplay modes (deathmatch, co-op). From what I can tell, Doom 3‘s full “BFG Edition” package has been kept intact, complete with its pair of expansion packs.
If you haven’t deleted either original Doom game from your Xbox One, the games will still function as advertised, complete with online mode access. For now, it appears that re-downloading the game is still possible if you previously purchased it, though it might require jumping through the hoop of downloading the “free trial” version via Xbox.com. (Scattered reports indicate that Xbox 360 consoles can still natively redownload both Doom and Doom II.) The best apparent way to hold onto the Xbox 360 versions of these three games on Xbox One is to keep an Xbox 360 disc copy of Doom 3: BFG Edition handy. Putting that disc in will still prompt players to install all three 360 SKUs of the original games to their Xbox One hard drive.
Bethesda representatives did not immediately respond to Ars Technica’s questions about the delisting. We’ll keep an eye on the situation and post an update if Bethesda gives existing classic-Doom buyers any recourse about recovering their purchases.
Consider today’s news another reminder that your digital game purchases are nothing more than licenses, which publishers are free to revoke. Konami’s free horror-game demo PT is the most obvious example, and its PS4 delisting in 2015 prompted rabid fans to sell consoles with working copies for well over $ 1,000. Issues with licensed songs and characters, meanwhile, have cursed the availability of games with characters like Scott Pilgrim, Wolverine, and Mickey Mouse.