Something strange is happening with Minecraft: Story Mode. The game is currently on the verge of disappearing, at least from digital storefronts, but it’s reappeared on the Xbox 360‘s digital storefron, and at an insanely high markup? So what’s going on? Unfortunately, the price is more of a last gasp designed to deter gamers from buying the dying game.
The games were previously delisted from sale, given how the servers that support them will be shutting down in about a week. But according to the Minecraft: Story Mode Facebook page, taking it off the Xbox 360 store resulted in the users who already owned the game being unable to download any episodes they had not previously. Since that defeats the purpose of a grace period before server shutdown, the game was relisted, but with a twist. In an effort to deter new purchasers, each episode is listed as $100 USD.
According to the Facebook announcement:
The price shown is a real list price, please do not buy the content, if you do, you will be charged the amount shown. This is simply the only mechanism available to facilitate players being able to download their remaining episodes prior to servers shutting down.
You may have heard about Telltale‘s rather messy and unexpected shuttering last year. After the company’s polite-but-vague reason, a veritable flood of negative stories from suddenly-former Telltale employees came rushing out, exposing the company for its toxic crunch culture and poor treatment of its people.
Which begs the question… if someone did decide to blow a few hundred dollars and buy the episodes despite the monstrously high price, then what happens to the money? Does it go into the coffers of the now-nonexistent Telltale? Does it go to Microsoft? It’s strange to think the Xbox 360 store is so messed up that the only way for gamers to obtain their already-purchased goods and for the distributors to avoid having a whole new spate of customers is to mark up the episodes as high as possible. Even a former Telltale dev commented on the absurdity of the situation:
This process of erasing MCSM from existence just gets… sillier? Maybe that’s not the right word but it surreal to see our games listed for $100 per episode as a FIX. pic.twitter.com/Sh79REuRBe
— Stauder (@literalpumpkin) June 14, 2019
It’s a bit of a shame to see a game just vanish like this, even from online stores, but it’s an unfortunate side effect of no one wanting to be responsible anymore. And despite the comically high charge of the relisted episodes, the fact Xbox 360 players will still be able to get their purchases until the absolute deadline is at least somewhat commendable.
The game will be permanently removed from stores and gone forever on June 25th, so anyone who already owns it and wants to play it should download it now.