18
Jun
2019

Sega pulls Alpha Protocol from sale on Steam

Alpha Protocol, the spy role-playing game from Obsidian Entertainment, is no longer available for purchase on Steam. Sega, the game’s publisher, had it pulled from the storefront, according to the game’s Steam listing.

“At the request of the publisher, Alpha Protocol is no longer available for sale on Steam,” reads a message on the product page. Valve updated the listing on Wednesday morning to add the note, according to Steam Database’s change log. Alpha Protocol’s product page on the Humble Store, which also previously sold the game, is gone entirely.

Sega released Alpha Protocol in May 2010 on PlayStation 3, Windows PC, and Xbox 360. It received lukewarm reviews, but is fondly remembered these days as something of a cult classic. Sega’s decision to pull Alpha Protocol from sale had fans on forums and social media speculating that the company was preparing to remaster it. However, it turns out that Sega had to stop selling the game because it no longer controls the publishing rights.

“Following the expiry of Sega’s publishing rights for Alpha Protocol, the title has been removed from Steam and is no longer on sale,” a Sega spokesperson said in a statement to Polygon. The rep noted that anyone who already owns the game will still be able to download and play it in the future.

Sega has owned the Alpha Protocol intellectual property from the start. Eurogamer reported in 2017 that Obsidian — which pitched the project to Sega after the publisher solicited RPG ideas — was initially set to retain ownership of the IP, but was forced to sacrifice the rights in its publishing deal with Sega in order to get the contract signed. What likely affects the IP rights now is Microsoft’s acquisition in November of Obsidian. It’s possible that Microsoft has purchased Alpha Protocol from Sega, or that the publishing rights have somehow reverted to Obsidian.

Asked for further details, the Sega representative told Polygon that they “do not have any answers […] as of yet.” We’ve also reached out to Obsidian and Microsoft for comment, and we’ll update this article with any information we receive.

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