Forza Motorsport 7 will no longer be available to purchase from the Microsoft Store or play on Xbox Game Pass after September 15th, 2021, as it’s reaching “end of life” status. The game won’t be completely going away — if you own it you’ll still be able to download and play it, and the multiplayer will still be accessible, but anyone without the game won’t be able to buy the digital version. According to the Forza Twitter account, this is happening because the game’s licenses to use real-world cars and tracks are starting to expire.
If you’re a long-time Forza fan, you may have seen this happen before. Games in the series have historically been delisted around four years after their release. Horizon 3 was delisted in September 2020 after being launched in September 2016, and Motorsport 6 was removed from Microsoft’s online store in September 2019, following its launch in September 2015.
With Motorsport 7, there’s the complication of Xbox Game Pass. The game will no longer be available on the service after September 15th, which leads to an interesting question: what about the people who didn’t buy the game, but bought DLC for it to play with the Game Pass version? Forza says that anyone in this situation will receive a “token” that will let them keep playing the game. The token will be sent to players by August 2nd, and will have to be redeemed before September 15th, 2023.
Not dumb at all! Forza games have to go unlisted after several years because the third party licenses that we use to feature real-world cars, tracks and other elements will begin to expire.— Forza Motorsport (@ForzaMotorsport) July 29, 2021
When the Forza twitter account tweeted that the games are being delisted because of licenses expiring, fans were quick to point out that some other racing games don’t seem to have this issue. For example, Need For Speed Rivals, which features real cars, was launched in 2013 and is currently on sale in the Microsoft Store. The Verge reached out to EA to get an idea about how it licenses cars for the games, but didn’t immediately receive a response.
The Forza model does seem curious: the games clearly have a lot of work put into them, and they’re often held up as a standard for how good racing games can look. Then, after about four years, they become much harder to buy. One of my colleagues mourned the loss of the aforementioned Horizon 3, which he considers to be the best game in the series. I’ve never played it, and would love to know what makes it so good — but I can’t get the game (used physical copies are available, but seemingly not for PC, and I don’t own an Xbox).
This isn’t necessarily to point fingers at or shame the Forza team. As EA Sports and the NCAA have shown, digitizing the real world into a playable form can be messy when there’s people or brands involved. What’s more, the makers of hyper and super-cars, like the ones featured in Forza, can be especially protective of their brand. Famously, Ferrari reportedly sent musician Deadmau5 a cease and desist letter for customizing his car. It’s just odd that, for whatever reason, this is how Forza does the licensing.
While it may be unfortunate that Forza Motorsport 7 is being taken off Microsoft’s virtual shelves, there is a silver lining: if you want to get it before it’s gone, the game’s Standard, Deluxe, and Ultimate editions are all 75 percent off, selling for $9.99, $14.99, and $19.99 respectively. According to Forza’s support article, they’ll be on sale until September 15th, and the game will still be playable after it’s no longer available to purchase.