While companies like Microsoft and Google are pushing the video game industry towards a potential all-digital future, there are several possible ramifications. Take, for example, Tetris Blitz from Electronic Arts. Fans were surprised to discover a new message in the iOS game, signaling that the app will no longer be playable starting on April 21st. While this is a reality for many iOS games, what makes this all the more irksome is the fact that this isn't a Free-to-Play title; Tetris Blitz was a paid game. Apparently, The Tetris Company, Inc. has given exclusive mobile rights for the Tetris brand to a company called N3TWORK, resulting in EA's license getting yanked.
Gamers that want to play Tetris aren't going to have any difficulty finding a version to enjoy. After all, Alexey Pajitnov's puzzle game can be found on just about every gaming platform known to man, and a new iOS Tetris will likely be available very shortly after Blitz goes offline. But the fact that a game players paid money for can simply shut down should give everyone pause. This is yet another reminder that digital purchases are never actually owned by the consumer. At any time, they can simply be taken away.
Tetris Blitz is far from the first game that will be lost to players. Ubisoft Montreal's Scott Pilgrim vs. The World: The Game is a title that only exists for those who purchased the game and still have it on their PlayStation 3 or Xbox 360 hard drives. It was never released physically, and it's no longer available on digital storefronts, thanks to licensing issues. As more games are released as digital exclusives, these stories will continue to crop up, and that truly is a tragedy for an industry that already struggles to preserve its own history.
We've had an amazing journey with you, but sadly it is time to say goodbye. By April 21, 2020, Tetris® and Tetris® Blitz will be retired. Thank you all for making this journey so memorable :)January 21, 2020
Players will get over the loss of Tetris Blitz. After all, it's just a mobile iteration in a franchise that has so many other options available. Yet it's another canary in a coalmine warning players about what could be lost in an all-digital future.
Are you sad to see the end of Tetris Blitz? Do you still buy games physically when you can? Let us know in the comments or share your thoughts directly on Twitter at @Marcdachamp to talk all things gaming!