Earlier today it became known that several games had gone missing from the Windows Phone 7 app Marketplace. The games themselves were popular and ‘higher profile,’ and so their sudden exit caused a stir.

However, before any sort of conspiracy theory (Not selling enough copies! Litigation!) could truly lay root, Microsoft explained what was happening.

In a tweet, Karl Stricker, Senior Business Manager of Xbox Live, provided a full explanation: “Fast & Furious, Star Wars: Cantina/Hoth were removed from the marketplace per request of the publishers as the game’s licenses had expired.”

It was as simple as that. However, as WMPowerUser points out, from the user perspective, this could be a troubling move: “Obviously this issue ads a new dimension to buying games from Marketplace – buyers who had to hard reset their devices or purchase a new phone may very well be out of luck when it comes to re-installing some of their games.”

It’s a fair point. As the Windows Phone world begins to move towards Mango, a move that will certainly cause more people to reset their handsets or buy a new phone, they could lose their investment on the titles. Microsoft should have a clear policy in place to prevent such situations.

TNW Microsoft has a question in at Microsoft asking how many other titles in the Marketplace are susceptible to future removal. When we hear back, we will update this post.