bioshockiconWell, let's hope my streak with writing stories about pulled games only to see them spring back to life continues, friends. The announcement of Bioshock's release on iOS in the summer of last year was quite the surprise. Though opinions of the results may vary, most can at least agree that it was quite impressive from a tech point of view. Unfortunately, not even a year later, the arrival of iOS 8.4 completely broke the game. The publisher of the game, 2K, quickly amended its App Store description to assure players that they were working on fixing the problem. Not long after that, the game was pulled from active sale on the App Store, but was still accessible through the purchase history of anyone who bought it. Was.

An eagle-eyed member of the TouchArcade forums recently noticed that Bioshock is now not only unavailable to buy, but not even existing owners can re-download the title via their purchase histories, as with most pulled apps. Naturally, we reached out to just about every 2K contact we know to get some kind of explanation, but as of the time of this writing, none have gotten back to us. Now, this might be nothing, but several of the emails we sent to contacts directly at 2K bounced right on back to us. None of 2K's other games appear to be afflicted, so what's going on? Since 2K hasn't offered an answer, we are free to wildly speculate!

There are a few potential scenarios here. First, this is just some sort of technical hiccup, similar to what happened a few weeks ago with SoMoGa's Lunar [$6.99] and Vay [$0.99]. This seems unlikely, as even in the case of those games, they weren't removed from purchase histories, but it at least should be considered as a possibility. Next, we have to consider that Apple could have pulled it for some reason. As the rest of 2K's titles remain unaffected, this would have to involve an issue specific to Bioshock that Apple would care enough about to delist a title that was already removed from sale on the App Store. Now, this isn't without precedent, but this also feels pretty far-fetched to me.

Which means 2K themselves most likely delisted it, and that simply begs the further question as to why they did so. I'm repeating myself, but the game was already pulled from active sale. Surely if a company was looking to reduce complaints about a broken game, pulling it without delisting it would be the best choice. Pull it so that no one new buys in and is surprised by the lack of functionality, but don't delist it, as that will simply bring in complaints from people who paid for the title already. They may have pulled it for a technical issue, or perhaps in anticipation of a fixed version's return. Maybe they plan to upload a new, separate version, like they did with XCOM [$9.99]. Of course, they may have pulled it because they are unable or unwilling to fix it, and are hoping it will just quietly go away. There's simply not enough evidence to make any conclusions here, so unless 2K decides to open up, all we can really do is wait and see if it comes back.

If it doesn't, I can't help but think what a tremendous waste of resources and customer goodwill that would be. I doubt the cost of porting Bioshock was insignificant, and I also can't imagine 2K only expected to sell it for a year. Moreover, pulling a game from the purchase history of customers who paid for it never goes over well, especially a game that was relatively high-priced by platform standards at launch. Bioshock isn't a low-profile title, either. The damage that would be done to 2K's reputation among iOS gamers would be heavy and possibly irreparable. So, let's hope there's no fire at the source of this smoke.

And to any 2K staff who might be reading and are able to illuminate this situation, would you kindly get in touch with us?

  • gleeclub

    paid alot of money for that game, immensely enjoyed it! IOS 8.4 broke, and now 2K just deletes it, that is BS, is that not a form of theft? I have nothing to show fir my purchase......

    • Schnapple

      I'm willing to bet that in an EULA somewhere it has words to the effect of "by paying us you get the right to play this game as long as we offer it, or as long as it still works, or as long as Apple lets us have it on there. If it breaks in the future that's the end of our deal."

      So no, not theft. Crappy, but not theft.

      • Derprozess

        True, but I feel like this was stolen from me :/ especially because it was the best game that I played in my entire life

      • Chocolate

        Theft is theft, no matter how clever the legalese it's wrapped up in. You want gamers to pay decent and fair prices for games on the App Store? Then there also needs to be protections and guarantees for the buyer. If the game has truly been removed for good, then buyers should be given a refund. A lot of iOS games regularly purchase apps for their backlog, intending to get to them in time. It shouldn't be possible for those purchases to simply disappear without returning the money paid.

      • boydstr

        If that's the case be honest and inform buyers of there rights when they buy a game and the term "buy" in the AppStore is in my view that you have the ownership of that product/app/game

    • anabolicMike

      I agree. They have to fix this in general or start sending us backed up games. Flash drives anyone? Haha

    • boydstr

      Yes it's theft.The problem lies in the fact that people that bought the game have no problem when a game is pulled in case of compatible issues but let people know what kind of action you take to fix the problem they let us completely in the dark.

  • mindseyes

    I still have it on my device but this is a huge bummer I was still playing it through ??

  • Deygus

    I imagine it's because of the game breaking after 8.4 and it was never fixed I don't think..

    • boydstr

      That's the cause!!

  • LordShad0wz

    Wow. I never got to finish it. And they just pull it? I paid $10 for the game. It goes without saying I won't make the same mistake twice. No more 2k games for me. Even if it was free.

  • Alexythimia23

    There is nothing worse then when a game is taken from your purchase history...but when its a game as expensive as this, and bioshock to boot! Well.....if it is the case that its been removed permanently, even for the purchasers, well personally i would never buy anything from them again. It would be a gross breach of trust for me personally, so i hope its not the case as too early too speculate.

    • tinkie277

      This is exactly what I wanted to write... The thing is would they do this with their other titles that I have paid £14.99 for? I didn't pay that amount of cash to RENT it for a year!!

    • Kahdmus

      Completely agree with this.

  • curtneedsaride

    I purchased it, but didn't have a device that could run it at the time, and I'm not sure if I downloaded it. If I didn't, I guess that's my bad. That'll teach me. Oh yeah, and this sucks.

    • Dailon Huskey

      Right now even if you did download it you lost it

  • Quazonk

    I hope this game is being briefly pulled in order to update and then be re-released back into the wild. Otherwise yeah, I'll be joining the pitchfork and torch mob.

    • Martymcsmartie

      I'm a chainsaw and shotgun type vigilante myself

  • Oliver Grosche

    If everybody reclaims the Money via Apple that might teach em a lesson.

    • Mess

      Is there a time limit to refund claims...

      • http://erikveland.com ErikVeland

        No.

  • ineptidude

    I can only hope they are trying to get it working with the new AppleTV and this is one part of the process. It's still in my Game Center which is going to make me very upset if I have a game for which I can never get all the achievements, legitimately or through jailbreak.

  • orangecan

    So as someone who bought it and don't currently have it downloaded anywhere am I entitled to a refund?

    • Der-Kleine

      I'm sure there're laws (at least in some countries/unions) stating that you can...

      • pauldavidmerritt

        lol not in the U.S. -- keep dreaming in that case.

    • anon_coward

      you can still download it anytime

      • orangecan

        I don't think you can according the article and it doesn't appear in my purchase history.

      • tinkie277

        It's not in my download list anymore! It stinks.

      • boydstr

        Where you want to download it from??It is removed from the AppStore.

      • dalglir

        No. You can't. It's been completely removed including from purchase history. 2K Support has advised to seek refund via Apple.

    • zergslayer69

      My question is unless you have the email proving you bought it, there isn't really any proof we can show that'll get us a refund. That was more like a statement than a question.

  • iValerio1990

    no.. 🙁

  • Jay G

    So, tell me again how I should invest money in premium titles on this insane platform ecosystem, instead of getting them on GOG or Steam where they don't randomly disappear from my library.

    • anon_coward

      you can still download it

      • Tallgeese

        not in purchase history as states in the article and because I just checked. Probably ok grounds to ask apple for a refund...

      • Chocolate

        Did you not read the article? No, you can't still download it. It's gone.

    • BulkSlash

      I don't think Steam is any better, both Sega Rally Revo and OutRun 2006 have been pulled and can't be re-downloaded.

      • jamesgecko

        Uh, no. Steam games aren't removed from people's libraries when the publisher removes them from the store. I own multiple games that aren't commercially available on Steam anymore, and I can install and play them just fine.

  • anon_coward

    is it still in the purchased list for anyone who bought it? if not then it may mean that it had the xcode malware thing

    • Der-Kleine

      Second paragraph:

      "An eagle-eyed member of the TouchArcade forums recently noticed that Bioshock is now not only unavailable to buy, but not even existing owners can re-download the title via their purchase histories, as with most pulled apps."

      • anon_coward

        not true. i have pulled apps in my history i can download. only time they are pulled like that is some issue like copyright or malware

      • Der-Kleine

        I think what that sentence was trying to say is that with most pulled apps you CAN redownload the app/game via your downloads history and that this is an unusual case where you can't. I could be wrong, but that would make the most sense to me.

      • VirtualBoyFreak

        The apps that have disappeared from my purchase history AFAIK in all the years I've been with the App Store (since the very beginning) are Flatspace (dev ceased to exist, so everything from them was removed), iMAME (emulator) and Gridlee (hidden iMAME emulator). I've been able to download the rest without trouble (Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3, Flight control, etc.)... Mmmm, maybe I should download both XCOM's just in case...

    • Tallgeese

      just checked not in my Hx

  • paulkolin86

    One of the best games I've ever played... They have to bring it back :/

  • RomanReigns

    Hope for a return with better graphics and new ios version support.....

    • boydstr

      That's something I hope for a version that uses the power of the latest models iPhone.lets make some noise that this is unacceptable!!!

  • vic_viper_001

    No guarantees, no refunds, no value, unpredictable cutoffs. The future of gaming is here!

  • Tim Cant

    Would you kindly fix this

    • Tallgeese

      👏Yeah, dat end of dat article tho👏!

      • Tim Cant

        Full disclosure: my eyes were too full of tears to finish it

  • Tim Cant

    The lack of communication is pretty poor, it's a relatively cheap game but I bought a goddamn iPhone 6 Plus to play this freaking thing while I make. The big publishers are doing a shocking job on iOS at the moment 🙁

  • rob fenton

    Just checked and it's gone. I know it was there a few days ago as I checked having seen it missing on the App Store. Absolutely amazing game. I hope that if they put it back they add real-time shadows!! I must admit though I'm getting very disillusioned with so many bugged, unfinished, pulled and incomplete (pay + iap) games on iOS. Used to feel bad about buying discounted games but not anymore.

  • cakewalker

    This sucks big time

  • cakewalker

    I want it back 🙁 I was enjoying this so much

  • cakewalker

    Tweet them! @2KSupport

  • hil

    I don't think it's gone for good. They're 2K, not EA. Pushing an AAA-Port to iOS showed a lot of confidence in the mobile market, a market which companies like Ubisoft start focussing mainly on, the last growing and biggest growing market left, and no company this size would have done it without market data. They knew what they were getting into.
    I believe it has something to do with the new AppleTV. Maybe that's wishful thinking, but I really find it more likely than them not knowing that they would have to update their game regularly after it's release.

  • squirpe

    Maybe this means they are bringing the (rumored) Bioshock trilogy remastered to iOS as well as current gen consoles. Can dream, right ?

    • Khashayar Sahebkar

      It may be possible but not yet
      iOS apps can't be more than 4 Gb and Bioshock Infinite is definitely more than 15 GB not to mention the DLCs
      But I really wish for the Bioshock Collection for consoles to be true!

      • http://erikveland.com ErikVeland

        App thinning.

      • Khashayar Sahebkar

        I doubt you know the amount of difference App Thinning can make
        For a 100MB app it can reduce it to about 70MB. For games it's much different specially 3D games!

      • http://erikveland.com ErikVeland

        App Thinning isn't just about discarding unneeded resources, it's about app slicing and downloading resources as needed. That's how the Apple TV can run full games even with just an initial 200Mb max load.

  • Khashayar Sahebkar

    I played it a little but then it broke
    I do have the ipa file and can install it anytime but it would be broke
    I might ask for my money back
    I mean this is just not right, with The world ends with you, they re released the game. But to remove it completely …

  • Schnapple

    Maybe the port was farmed out to 2K China (like the CivRev games) and it's been hit with the XcodeGhost problem. And since they don't want people to be able to re-download affected apps Apple pulled even the old download until 2K can get them a new build, except it never recovered from whatever in 8.4 broke it in the first place. So until they do that too, it's gone.

  • sobriquet

    Damn, I saw the BioShock picture at the top and thought this was going to be good news about a fix. Maybe they are planning a "super version" like they did with XCom. With the new app thinning feature in iOS 9 it could be possible despite the file size.

  • Dailon Huskey

    It's completely gone from my device
    Holy shite that sucks
    Hope it's a mistake

    I bought got it to play it for three weeks new update broke it and now no fix
    3 weeks that's all

  • musicalmac

    Metal support incoming?....

  • diaskeaus

    I'm ok

  • diaskeaus

    I'm ok with the game being broken, but removing it from purchase history is going too far. Is that Apple or 2K? Who should I be throwing oil on?

  • gleeclub

    it cannot be downloaded at all, unlike the Dead Space/Mass Effect situation, im out a game and thats bullmess!!!!

  • Jirka S

    I'm very angry for this situation, 2K on twitter don't react for reason and for official message. I need my money back.

  • Anonomation

    In the words of the Qemists- "I got your money! Woohoo!"

  • Martymcsmartie

    Arse biscuits. Another one bites the dust from my collection.

  • BigPrimeNumbers

    I had no idea that companies could just remove purchased apps from your purchase history at a whim. This is terribly troubling, and shakes my confidence in the App store's policies. This should not be allowed; even if an app breaks with future iOS releases, it should never be purged from your history.

  • Supermarioooo

    I wish Toucharcade do this more and call out these big companies on their crap behaviour. Bioshock has disappeared from my purchase history so I I guess it's gone for good 🙁 Capcom have the Phoenix Wright HD trilogy on sale, I want to buy it, I've been wanting to buy it at full price for some time but they have a disclaimer on the AppStore stating that functionality is not guaranteed on iOS 8, a year later we're on iOS 9 and they still have the same disclaimer, and they won't reply to any emails so clearly it's not going to get updated, why don't they just go away from the AppStore instead of having such a half assed approach? I haven't been able to play Ghost Trick too for this same reason, iOS 8 broke it, they attempted a half assed fix but you couldn't buy or restore the IAP so it was just a glorified demo and Capcom have removed that from the AppStore yet again

    The thing is these are the premium games I want to play, but support from these big companies is terrible, had the same issue with The World Ends With You last year where it stopped working for a really long time and by the time they fixed it, I'd lost interest. I don't care about money lost, but I want to be able to play these great lengthy games, and right now on iOS the situation is a joke.

    • Shkrbby

      Agreed. TA should be investigating and fighting the gamers corner. The silence is deafening.

      • Shaun Musgrave

        I've written stories on every game he mentioned and more, and I went to bat particularly hard over TWEWY. We've been far from silent on the topic.

      • dalglir

        Reply from 2K below

        "Kaitlyn T., Sep 23, 6:18 PM:
        Hey there,

        Thank you for contacting 2K Support.

        I understand you're having issues with Bioshock for mobile gaming. Unfortunately, you are correct we don't currently have this game for mobile gaming anymore, which I know can be frustrating. The removal of the game was a developer decision. This happens occasionally, but thankfully not often.

        I'm terrible sorry for this, if you purchased Bioshock for IOS and you would like a refund, Apple will be of great assistance. Since the transaction wasn't completed through us, we can not perform a full refund back to you. However you will be able to complete a refund with Apple. They will be able to do this for you.

        Again, I'm terrible sorry for this experience, but I hope that Apple can clear this up for you as soon as possible.

        Here's the link to their customer support, please contact them for any refunds from the App Store.
        ---> [link removed as it appears to be upsetting TA's spam filters]

        If you ever have any future inquiries for 2K games, please don't hesitate to contact us.

        Kind regards,

        Kaitlyn T.
        2K Support"

      • Anthony

        Seriously they're not putting it back ever again? It's Bioshock for crying out loud. How do you get a refund from Apple on a game you bought a year ago?

      • Shaun Musgrave

        May I have your permission to quote that support response in a follow-up story? 2K still isn't answering us.

      • dalglir

        Of course 🙂

  • Shkrbby

    Terrible news. Love Bioshock.

  • boydstr

    I send a mail to Apple about the problem with Bioshock and the guy told me to remove the game and download it again on the AppStore why didn't check the store so he could see the game was removed I try to contact 2K but my phone couldn't send the email that I try to send from the 2K site I understand that for such a big game it is hard to find out where the problem lies but let people know what they are doing about the game,I hope that we the gamers start making noise and let them know that we paid for the game so Apple and 2K fix this problem!!!!

    • pauldavidmerritt

      This was the largest run-on sentence I've read to date.

  • Earth Vs. Me

    Let's hope the app just needs a little more time in the vita chamber.

  • dalglir

    2ksupport requested I open a ticket after I vented about this on Twitter. Ticket raised. I'll post the response here 🙂

    • dalglir

      So - while waiting for TA to approve 2K's verbatim response, in a nutshell 2K said: it's been yanked as a developer decision. Get a refund via Apple.

      • Dankrio

        Unbelievable.

      • Dr T

        I've submitted a request for refund. I'll be very very hesitant about premium games for a while now.

      • dalglir

        "Kaitlyn T., Sep 23, 6:18 PM:
        Hey there,

        Thank you for contacting 2K Support.

        I understand you're having issues with Bioshock for mobile gaming. Unfortunately, you are correct we don't currently have this game for mobile gaming anymore, which I know can be frustrating. The removal of the game was a developer decision. This happens occasionally, but thankfully not often.

        I'm terrible sorry for this, if you purchased Bioshock for IOS and you would like a refund, Apple will be of great assistance. Since the transaction wasn't completed through us, we can not perform a full refund back to you. However you will be able to complete a refund with Apple. They will be able to do this for you.

        Again, I'm terrible sorry for this experience, but I hope that Apple can clear this up for you as soon as possible.

        Here's the link to their customer support, please contact them for any refunds from the App Store.
        ---> [link removed as it appears to be upsetting TA's spam filters]

        If you ever have any future inquiries for 2K games, please don't hesitate to contact us.

        Kind regards,

        Kaitlyn T.
        2K Support"

  • Mekklesack

    They might repost the app with optimized visuals for upcoming mobile devices.

    • Dankrio

      Won't buy anything more from them on iOS. I lost confidence and though it was a disrespect to us consumers.

    • dalglir

      Nope. The response I got is that it's just yanked and folks should seek a refund. There is no mention of any development to make it better. It's just gone.

  • Dankrio

    Between new OS breaking older games and the possibility of this kind of move by developers (to remove games from purchased history at will) my confidence on iOS game ecosystem has oficially faded.

    It was a fun ride, but I am not spending a single cent anymore unless the situation changes.

  • gleeclub

    How do i get a Refund?? any ideas? i got copy of the receipt

  • conscript

    I purchased it and haven't even had time to play it yet! Does it not work with iOS 9?

    • RelientKSoCal

      Sadly no, I just tried it on iOS 9. Gets to the main screen then goes black.

  • jamesgecko

    Stuff like this is why I've stopped spending any serious money on iOS games. My 3DS isn't as slick, and my PC isn't as portable, but random games don't break every single operating system update.

    • Chocolate

      I agree. I have a pretty big 3ds collection. 95% physical carts. I love playing iOS games but when I see apps constantly breaking or disappearing, I'm increasingly afraid to buy apps.

  • RunningWild

    What a load of utter horse sh#t. This has seriously rattled my faith when it comes to what I now deem to be 'disposable transactions'.

    Never again will I invest in a premium title on iOS..

  • diaskeaus

    This situation has solidified my belief that digital games are nothing more than paying rent for an experience, until the company decides to stop offering that experience at which point your contract ends. You don't own anything, so you (read: I) need to stop expecting companies to give you (me) anything unless you are (I am) willing to shell out for a physical copy.

    It's exceptionally disheartening, but a realization that comes better late than never. Gaming is a different beast today than it was 15 years ago and gamers who were groomed on that model are going to be left in the dust.

    • pauldavidmerritt

      This industry is demonized.

  • gleeclub

    im waiting on a response from Apple, for a refund , i deserve

  • pauldavidmerritt

    I'd be in heaven right now if I had Orc: Vengeance, Dungeon Defenders: Second Wave, and BioShock on my iPhone 5s - iOS 9. My gaming device.. What a stupid, wasteful thought..

  • Chocolate

    I'm personally disgusted that apps I paid for have been removed from my purchase list. This is not the first time. I hope TouchArcade and other big sites will start putting pressure on Apple, because this feels like theft. Plain and simple.

    Maybe we need some legal action and law changes to protect consumers on the App Store. Google Play and Steam seem to be better, and offer refunds etc. Time for Apple to step up.

  • Chocolate

    And this is why I'm afraid to pay much money for App Store games. I mainly play premium games, but at a certain price point I know the app might not work after an iOS update, and the developer may disappear and even remove the broken app from my purchase list. This has happened to me several times over the years. I'm not sure many people realize this. So, basically I wait for sales and rarely will pay more than 5 bucks. For similar reasons I buy physical games on my consoles.

  • Егор Бочаров

    The high price of cheap gaming... Your game can be completely removed, cease to work, online modes can stop functioning... That's why I have always thought of the games I download to my mobile devices as of something I rent from Apple or Google. I play it, enjoy it and then forget about it. The same case is with Bioshock, I've completed it and don't really feel sorry. The end user agreement with Apple states you're actually renting the games anyway. As well as music, movies, apps and all other content.

  • Pavel Kungurtsev

    Got a free 5 songs download (accidentally - the phone signal quality wasn't good enough) and 3 movies for rent from apple after a talking about refund (the game was purchased in 12.2014)

  • Ajt

    Everyone is missing one of the bigger likely issues here. Ongoing compatability of advanced games in the ever amorphous and evolving iOS environment. 2k obviously invested time, effort and resources ($$$) I creating the iOS port of a popular and for the platform cutting edge game. All is well until a major patch. And let's be honest with ourselves iOS updates are major OS shifts. Not simply security patches and bug fixes. Core things change. This isn't an issue for common simple browser type games, which don't really use core features. But a huge fps or rpg?

    Just speculating here, but they ported it. iOS 8.4 broke it. So they had to go back and rework it to fix. Time effort and $$$. They probably almost finished this when iOS 9 hits... Start over. If you were running 2k at what point would you say f@ck it? Even at the elevated (for iOS) price point of the game you aren't bringing in enough to have to go back and redo the port every 3-6 months, just to keep previous purchasers still working.

    Which begs the question, is an ever evolving OS environment such as Apple uses a valid and sufficiently stable platform for more AAA style hardcore game development?