bioshockicon2K's iOS port of their hit Bioshock was pulled from the App Store after it ran into compatibility problems with iOS 8.4 in July of this year. The App Store description prior to the game being pulled stated they were working on fixing the problem, so it didn't set off any serious alarm bells. After all,Β  it's often the case on iOS that a publisher will pull a game while they get it fixed up so no one buys a broken product in the meantime. And while Bioshock's fix was stretching into months, we've certainly seen longer waits for updates. This week, however, a new twist entered the story, with Bioshock being fully delisted from the App Store. What that means is that even people who already bought it are unable to download it again.

I attempted to contact 2K games through various means, but heard nothing back. A full day after writing our initial article, we still haven't heard anything. One of our readers had more luck contacting 2K's customer support, so we've finally got some sort of reason. While the reply isn't good, I should give fair warning that while customer support technically speaks for the company, there are a lot of things they're unaware of or not able to discuss. As an example, a lot of the confusion around Square Enix's The World Ends With You came from customer support being unaware that an update was planned. So, this might mean nothing, but it's all we have for the moment, so I thought I'd share it with you.

Earlier today, TouchArcade forum member dalglir contacted 2K's support. He received a reply not long after. You can read the full response in the game's forum thread, if you'd like. It's mostly a stock-type letter, but there are a couple of interesting points. First, the customer service representative confirms that 2K doesn't "currently have this game for mobile gaming anymore". She goes on to say that the delisting was "a developer decision", which confirms that it was done at 2K's request as opposed to, say, Apple's. The representative then goes on to tell dalglir to request a refund from Apple should dalglir want one, as 2K can't process refunds on their end.

It seems like Bioshock is actually gone, but the phrasing of the response still leaves a loophole or two. While I wouldn't read too much into it, her use of the word 'currently' leaves the door open for the future. That's typically just standard cover-your-butt stuff, though, so don't get your hopes too high. I'm not sure how well Apple will accommodate refunds if you bought Bioshock a long time ago, but I suppose it couldn't hurt to try. Personally, I'm still kind of baffled as to how such a high-profile project wasn't able to survive a full calendar year without being broken beyond repair. And I still don't understand the reasoning behind delisting the game from customer purchase histories entirely. I guess we'll have to live with a few annoying mysteries for the time being, friends.

 

  • Dema9o9ue

    I bought this game full price and got through half of it before the update broke it. Then I deleted it to save space on my device expecting it to be fixed and I could re-download it.

    If this does not happen I am seriously rethinking my stance on free to play games. I can at least say that I will never purchase a 2K mobile game again.

    I get that games will eventually be unplayable. But a AAA game like this being unplayable a year after purchase. That's insane.

    • http://ztj.io/ Zachery Jensen

      But that's just the problem, the game originally was AAA sure, but, this mobile version never was. It was a dumbed down (graphically) version with awful controls and no support to speak of within even the first year.

      AAA refers to funding, not actual outcome quality. In this incarnation, this game was a C-lister at best. It's obvious the developer was just looking for a cash grab and wasn't willing to put in the resources needed to make this work well on this platform. A simple port job and random touch controls was never going to be enough. Changes to the actual game would be needed to truly make this work on mobile.

      I just assume they expected this outcome from the beginning, just, probably not so soon. No intent to keep it running through OS updates was probably part of the plan to make cash here.

      • Tapper

        Yeah, but Apple heralded this game on the App Store as a big deal, as proof that iOS is a proper gaming system, along with MFI controllers etc. And Bioshock is a AAA franchise. So this looks really bad for Apple and iOS in terms of credibility.

      • metroidjunkie

        You can blame Apple, they can't seem to release an iOS update without compatibility breaks.

    • Thor Mjolnirs

      What do free to play games have to do with BioShock? It's not F2P.

      • repapermunky

        Exactly... He's saying he'd rather support/ play a F2P title rather than a premium(price wise) title such as this that just ends up getting broken then completely removed; rather than wasting the money and getting screwed, he'd choose to play F2P titles that cost him nothing (if he so chooses) and ends up coming out clean from it.

  • Dankrio

    Simply outrageous.

  • pokah

    I'm guessing it's issues with newer iOS versions that would take too many resources to fix (ROI?), and would rather not have any compatible older version up.. that maybe a 'developer decision'?

    Too bad let's dream of bioshock 2 or 3 coming to mobile πŸ˜‰

  • Tallgeese

    Ken Levine isn't returning any of my calls or messages I leave begging him to make more Bioshock games, even the threatening ones, please ask about them too, Toucharcade Action News Team Two! And thank you!

  • Dankrio

    Apple and 2K are both to blame on the issue.

    • Milotorou

      I wouldnt say apple is to blame honestly, any sane developper knows that iOS updates break games, its nothing new and definitely not rocket science. I blame 2k for not wanting to keep supporting the product they were asking a premium "entry fee" for.

      • Morgan01

        Apple makes updates that breaks games and apps...and Apple has "no responsibility"? Yet, they makes millions every year from the App Store. Apple cannot code an option for people who want backwards compatibility? Not even offer an option? In ANY other industry, Apple would be responsible and obliged to offer options. But this is the "Apple" universe. They only follow their rules.

      • darkcrayon

        I don't think you can say without knowing exactly what the issue is. If I make an app that works in Windows 8 but is broken in Windows 10 (and we know that happened), I don't expect Microsoft to fix my app. It may be the developer's "fault" that it's broken.

      • Morgan01

        But this happens with every Apple version. There hasn't been an Apple version released that doesn't break games and apps. I am amazed that people feel 1 year of support is adequate. I bought the first iPad. Within one year, they stopped supporting it. You can't get away with something like that in any other industry.

      • darkcrayon

        But there are hundreds of thousands of apps. I always run the developer releases of iOS, and it isn't as if NONE of my apps work in the months leading up to release. You're talking a few here and there. The first iPad is actually the outlier, as the iPad 2 is actually being supported too long! It's over 4 years old and still has the latest OS and most of the features.

    • Chocolate

      Correct. Pressure needs to be put on Apple to protect consumers better on the App Store. Starting with easier refunds. We shouldn't have to guess and beg to get refunded. There should also be timed auto refunds like Google Play and Steam have. Apple needs to step up. They make a ton of money off us, time to treat us like valued customers.

    • pokah

      Can't blame Apple. A big console game comes to App Store of course they approve it. They can't predict that it'd crumble under developer pressure

      • Zantagor

        Actually, you can blame Apple. People who are still on iOS 7 or 8 should still be able to download and play the game they paid for. It's Apple's job to enforce this. Heck even Valve doesn't do that with steam, games that get removed still can get downloaded. That's borderline illegal and theft otherwise.

      • Bluefin

        It's not borderline, I would say that's pure theft. The only way to stop it though is to put pressure on Apple to change their rules. Currently, they don't give a rats ass if people lose apps that they paid for because they already pocketed the money.

  • Anonomation

    2k drive is really buggy and hard to use and that hasn't been updated in two years, which is a shame considering how good it can actually be.

    • Dailon Huskey

      I know I was shocked when I got that one at how fun it was but it sucks nowadays. Wish these devs would at least fix their good games .

  • Andritz

    So the question remains will we be able to get a refund on this issue apple will send you straight to the developer for complaints so how then if they send you to apple im so confused

    • gaberaph

      I think that's the point :/

    • http://adamsimmersive.com Adams Immersive

      Apple doesn't send you back to the developer for refund requests. Tech support on the app? The developer gets that. But Apple will give (or possibly deny) a refund without passing the buck, in my experience. Which makes sense, as that's how the system works: Apple is the one you directly paid.

      Even so, an easier refund (or even trial) process would be nice!

  • Dailon Huskey

    Played it a few times now it's gone... Getting a refund this is ridiculous and I'm not waiting on it either.

  • Chocolate

    This really makes me afraid to buy apps. I have several games that no longer work or have been removed from the App Store and my purchase list. Very bad precedents are being set.

    Apple needs to step up somehow, because this could wake a lot of people up to how unprotected the buyer is on the App Store. Even compared to Google Play and Steam, who both offer easy refunds, the App Store is a dinosaur with no appreciation or protection for consumers.

    Touch Arcade: keep reporting on these things, because we don't want the App Store to become a wasteland of just F2P.

  • Quazonk

    God damnit. This is going to be hard to argue against when people use this as an example as to why they don't want to "risk" their money on premium, pay-upfront games. Thanks for nothing 2K, if this isn't fixed they've seen their last dollar from me.

  • gleeclub

    im waiting on a response from Apple, hoping for a . refund , ????

    • PoloBaquerizoH

      I bought this game full price.,You wont get any refund, this is a normal thing now on mobile, to pay 15 dollars for one day it just get deleted forever and that was again " the steal" always mobile gaming with no guarantees of the customer money..

  • ZeeMonkeyMan

    What's the point of developers removing games? Seriously, I don't understand it.

    • curtisrshideler

      Maybe 2K pressured them to uphold the part of their contract that makes sure the game works on all current platforms. And maybe the developer couldn't get it done fast enough or it wasn't worth the financial effort. And maybe the developer didn't want it on the store in its current state. Not sure how the legal decisions or publishing decisions get made.

  • shidokan57

    Yeah i dont think im gonna buy anymore of there games either. Sad to cause there gonna lose there mobile gaming base and thats were gaming is going. So in the long run its there loss. No one will buy there games. As i did with gameloft games. Boring buggy garbage.

  • Zendorphin

    So how do we request a refund on a game that is removed from our purchase history? Not that I can even really recall the date... 😐

    • gleeclub

      find the digital copy of the receipt, and then contact Apple

    • roguewaver

      Search your email for the phrase bioshock.

  • Talaen

    I keep seeing statements here that you cannot blame Apple for this. I wholeheartedly disagree.

    I work in the software development field and the cardinal rule of releasing software is to separate minor improvements (I.e., minor releases of software) with significant and potentially compatibility-breaking changes (I.e., major releases).

    Apple has made non-trivial changes in many of their minor releases without consideration for how much it may cost a developer to react to these changes. That is both irresponsible, and bad business. However, it is also something that companies just have to live with if they want to be on the App Store.

    • icepulse

      Apple has one concern only. The improvement and enhancement of their mobile OS. It's absurd to consider the amount of time and treasure they'd have to expend in order to assure their OS updates played nicely with every one of the hundreds of thousands of apps available. It's really on the app developer.

      I agree that they should make the refund process easier, tho. Especially for premium titles.

    • http://adamsimmersive.com Adams Immersive

      The alternative would be to NOT make non-trivial changes to the OS.

      That's how you get stagnation and historical bloat. Be careful what you wish for.

      Instead, Apple makes the changes, documents them, and gives developers the tools to deal with them.

      (Note that even Mac and PC games often need patches for new OS versions. And if the developer doesn't make those patchesβ€”you are out of luck, just like iOS other than having paid more.)

    • Tuzzo

      Actually, the game got broken by a minor iOS update (8.4) BUT the developer could fix it by the release of the major update (9.0) instead of pulling it completely.
      I understand that it's time and money consuming to keep up with all these tweaks and improvements that Apple does to iOS, but if a company like 2K can't afford to fix a 1-year old game after a major iOS update, they shouldn't publish anything on the AppStore.
      We know that maybe Apple should offer a retrocompatibility option in iOS, but we also know it hasn't been so in many years.
      We're not talking about issues in iOS 2 or 3; it's iOS 9. Developer should know you now it's them who should fix the game if an iOS update breaks it. Otherwise they shouldn't even bother to enter AppStore.

  • Kahdmus

    I was shocked at how amazingly well this played on iOS!
    This sets terrible precedents, as has been said. And at the very least is a nasty blow to fans and those who purchased only a year ago and, like myself, are still playing through the game. 2K should be ashamed.

  • MFiGamer

    Yeh its a complete sham...
    Some info you may find interesting..
    When MOGA Released their MFi Controller the "Rebel" they teamed up with 2K BioShock Developers to not only promote Bioshock coming to iOS but also their new Apple Bluetooth MFi Controller the "Rebel".
    2K & MOGA used the launch of the iPhone6 to do this announcement.

    The week of September 9th2014 was the launch of theMOGA Rebel / BioShock /iPhone6 & iOS8.
    The very same day iOS8 was launched it introduced the famous "Bluetooth" disconnect bug for the MOGA Rebel, this in turn made BioShock unplayable as constant disconnects where introduced by Apple's Bug in iOS8 "Controller Forwarding". *FACT

    As i believe this would cause a lot of "lost sales" not only to MOGA (who seem to have vanished off the face of the earth btw) but also to 2K & BioShock.
    Take it as you may but Apple caused a lot of pain to these 2 companies, Who knows what nastiness would transpire from this?. of course i'm only speculating but those are the chronological facts.

  • J T

    They also have at least two games on iOS that have never been completed, despite their promise. Deus Ex and I think also Hitman Go.

    Since the end of the first part, the poor guy in Deus Ex has been flying to Australia for more than a year and I'm still waiting for him to land.

    • zeratulo

      That's square

      • J T

        Yeah I made a mistake. I was responding to someone who mentioned Square Enix but made a new comment instead.

  • zeratulo

    Why is it possible for Microsoft to release new OS's that, for the most part, don't break games that were released in the last 10 years, yet Apple can't even release a minor update without whole swaths of games being bricked?

    • http://bitgamereviews.tumblr.com/ BitGameReviews

      Because Microsoft OS themselves have tons and tons of issue s maintaining legacy support. That's way Microsoft releases so many dang security updates for Windows. Apple is not going to go that directions with iOS.

      • zeratulo

        You're conflating security patches with compatibility issues. Yes, of course there's legacy issues on the PC, otherwise GOG wouldn't exist, but some of those games are from the 80's. What I don't understand is how Apple can release 8.4 and have developers scrambling to fix their games. When Microsoft releases some random security patch, games aren't broke and when a new version (10 for instance) comes out, you didn't lose a portion of your steam library.

        I just don't understand the thought process behind apples update development. It seems like they're only concern is their OS and don't give two shits about the AppStore.

      • http://bitgamereviews.tumblr.com/ BitGameReviews

        That's not correct. Many of the items that break are from when developers use decremented features. Apple post this information way in advanced. Also I'm referring to most recent Microsoft games such as things released for Windows 7 or XP. Directx 9 was released with Windows 7 and it's now a legacy support item for Windows 8.1 and 10. When you install Direct x9 you need to install the related security updates. Don't believe me, look it up. I just ran into with a game that was from 2007 on my Windows 10 machine.

      • zeratulo

        Ok, I get what you're saying about DX support, but in your example you said it was a game from 2007. What we've seen on the iOS front though, is going from 8.2 to 8.3 to 8.4 completely real a ton of games. I'm not trying to argue, I genuinely just don't understand why everything just keeps breaking.

      • http://bitgamereviews.tumblr.com/ BitGameReviews

        Very cool πŸ™‚ No doubt there's plenty of blame to go around. I like the general philosophy of keeping iOS lean and mean. However it does seem that Apple takes it too far sometimes and other times plainly screws things up.

  • nkx

    Dang can't find receipt for refund. Sad to read the news

    • Tallgeese

      I think apple would probably have a record with that info. I'd just write them an email.

  • ukdna

    Pull this post or whatever, I'm not condoning piracy. But if you paid for this game, it still exists at certain sites. And THAT is the MORAL truth.

    • ukdna

      For that matter, so is Dead Space. I dropped cash on both these and I'll be keeping them, thank you very much. We have to stand up to this crap.

  • ukdna

    I've been a registered user of this site for years but rarely post. I'd like to say that with the non-backwards compatibility of consoles and this App Store crap, Steam is becoming more and more relevant. I've bought Biochock three times. Can't play it on The current Playstation (without subscribing to something? I don't know, that's for people who hate money or something?) Now I can't play it on iOS. But, I can still play it on Steam, where it will generally be cheaper anyway. And neither of the reasons it is unavailable (without subscribing at least, on PS4) on the other two platforms probably won't ever be an issue on Steam. I'm not a Steam fanboy, but I'm getting ready to be.

  • vic_viper_001

    Refunds from Apple don't work too well.

    The last time I requested a refund for a BROKEN game. They said that they would not issue one for any reason. They basically told me to go screw myself, and that I had no rights to a refund... even for a broken game.

    I'm quickly becoming one of those people who treats iTunes as a 99 cents or less store.

  • Stetch

    Well this was disappointing news. I cant say that I wont buy another full price game. Its like eating a pizza that taste bad and never buy a pizza again. I really hope the game comes back with Metal and MFI support.

  • pouffie

    And has everyone ever commented about the whole 2K fiasco concerning XCOM enemy unknown? The game was charged at premium price and was pulled out of the appstore in favour of XCOM enemy within. Those bought the older game got royally screwed and it will eventually break in the future... I was exchanging emails with 2K's customer service for a friggin MONTH! They denied responsibility and refused to give me a discount on their catalogue. STOP SUPPORTING SUCH COMPANIES THAT HAVE NO RESPECT FOR THEIR CUSTOMERS!!!

  • lemessie

    2k is a thief company! πŸ™

  • vapourtrail

    Class action lawsuit.

  • http://www.newconcept.hu/ Szabolcs Bakos

    Buying AAA FPS game for touch! LOL!!!

  • Space Chief

    Is there no recourse in the European Union over stunts like this?
    If someone paid money for a product, they should at least be able to use it on the previous version of the operating system, if they didn't do the upgrades. People should be refunded for the lost game.

    Stunts like this are one reason why I have no sympathy for developers when it comes to piracy.

    • pouffie

      Nah, from a competition law perspective, it does qualify as an abuse of dominant position. As far as consumer protection goes, there must be something but this is not my field... There must be legislation but the Commission has no power to inflict fines and sanctions.

      • pouffie

        *does not qualify

  • Anthony

    I am sure I am not the only person that has a huge backlog. I bought Bioshock when it first came out and played about 45 minutes in and then put it aside in the hope that a metal update would be forthcoming. I also put it aside thinking when I finally pick up an iPad this Christmas I will play it on that instead of my iPhone 6. The idea that they can reach into my purchase history and basically steal my game from me is maddening.

  • DJCubs

    iOS gaming is turning into a joke

  • Benedict Murray

    Maybe they are prepping a new version to make it compatible with the new AppleTV when it launches...

  • jmcse1

    Great idea some brought up to request a refund. I think I'll start tracking my purchases in excel and if any go missing request a full refund.

  • Dailon Huskey

    Just read on another gaming site that Capcom has no plans to fix monster hunter freedom unite to work on ios9 another premium down the drain. This should help increase the number of FTP players.

    • Carabak

      Just pouring money down the drain. Seriously been considering finding another hobby.

      • kendahlj

        How much do you spend on this hobby? Every hobby costs money and there are times when money isn't spent wisely. Doesn't mean you should find a new hobby...just make better decisions.

  • shining jade

    Well at least the game lives on, I mean its still on the web and sorry to say this but hey you jailbreak you can get it ...

  • BigPrimeNumbers

    This draconian practice of completely scrubbing an app is totally unacceptable and damaging to a brand; only Apple should have the ability to do this and even then, only in extreme and rare circumstances.

    • Alexythimia23

      So with you on that, for me personally if this is true, I'm done with these devs whether its 2k or whoever, end result is the same consumers who are willing to support premium gets screwed. They can now release whatever they want and i will never purchase it no matter what the game, might sound dramatic but im a big supporter of premium and for purchasers to be blacklisted from this, well that goes beyond kicking dirt in your face.also not buying anything to do with them is the only stance i have, its either that or say, " its ok i will spend 20 dollars on their next rental game" and move on...personally i will feel better moving on having nothing to do with them. Its time like these i would pat a jail breaker on the back and say, good job getting that game for free ( p.s not saying all jail-breakers get free games but you get my point)

  • That PvZ Guy

    Don't know why this was ever a thing to begin with. Bioshock is a one of a kind, cinematic experience that is best enjoyed on a larger screen with better resolution and superior sound quality, or in other words, on PC. Most gamers have already played it anyway, which means they probably already possess a copy on 360, PS3, or PC. If you already have it on any of those consoles, just play it again, because playing it again on any one of those platforms is guaranteed to be a better experience.

    In the rare case that you've never played it and don't own it, just buy it on Steam when it's on sale, because that's cheaper than it was on iOS anyway.

    TLDR don't support porting, it's re-packaging at it's worst. The only scenario in which I would consider re-purchasing this title is if they remastered it, because the graphics are a bit dated.

  • RenTin850

    If you bought it you can still download it by going to your purchases. I'm pretty sure. I can still download and play EA's NCAA football that was taken away off the App Store years ago. So what is all the fuss about not being able to download it once you've bought it?

    • Shaun Musgrave

      The fuss is because you can't download it by going to your purchases, even if you bought it. As you note, this is unusual. Hence, the fuss.

      • BrunoXX

        This is not unusual....me alone have 10 apps & games that are vanished from my purchase history.

  • RunningWild

    I requested a refund from Apple and was promptly denied one so it all sounds like a blame game right now.

  • Timerider

    Why is it still not back yet? Give me the game or give me back my money.