A collection of Need for Speed games have been pulled from digital storefronts by EA.
In a post on Reddit (opens in new tab), community manager Max Myrus told fans that the "sun is setting on some older NFS titles." As of yesterday, May 31, Need for Speed Carbon, Need for Speed Undercover, Need for Speed Shift, Need for Speed Shift 2: Unleashed, and Need for Speed: The Run have been removed from sale, meaning players will no longer be able to purchase them, and their in-game stores have closed.
Myrus says the decision has been made in preparation for the retirement of the games' online services, which are due to go offline on August 31. Until then, players will be able to continue to race online, but from September they'll be limited to offline features. Myrus also claims that EA is "shifting gears to focus on the future of Need for Speed," meaning "it's no longer feasible to continue the work behind the scenes" to keep the titles running for their smaller audiences. More recent games, starting from 2012's Need for Speed Most Wanted, will remain available.
EA hasn't quite committed all hands to the next Need for Speed game. Back in March, it confirmed that it had moved developer Criterion into a supporting role on Battlefield 6, to ensure that the first-person shooter will release in time for its 'Holiday 2021' release window. Criterion will eventually move back to working on the racing franchise, but the switch has delayed the next Need for Speed game by around 12 months - EA previously stated the next game would arrive by March 2022, but that's now changed to March 2023. EA's racing fans won't be entirely stuck at the starting grid, however, as the company's recent purchase of Dirt and F1 developer Codemasters should ensure some extra high-octane output.
Delistings are far from unheard of, but they do tend to come with a little more warning than this. In the case of the Forza Horizon games - which have been subject to delistings over expiring music rights - Microsoft has announced the upcoming change (and some generous discounts to boot) with plenty of warning, allowing interested players to experience the game before it disappears forever.
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