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Here's why Grand Theft Auto 4 disappeared from Steam

Last week, Grand Theft Auto 4 disappeared from Steam, leading to much speculation from fans on Twitter. Some assumed that it may be the kind of music licensing issues that have plagued the series in the past, while others got their hopes up for a remake or remaster announcement.

We now know exactly what led to GTA 4 being removed. Unfortunately, it's nothing as exciting as a complete overhaul of the beloved game. According to a statement that Rockstar Games issued to USGamer, the game was delisted due to an inability to distribute new product keys for it.

"Grand Theft Auto 4 was originally created for the Games For Windows Live platform," Rockstar explained. "With Microsoft no longer supporting Games For Windows Live, it is no longer possible to generate the additional keys needed to continue selling the current version of the game." 

Rockstar furthered explained that it was working on finding other ways to distribute the game for PC. However, at this time, there appears to be no solid plan in place. 

In other words, it may be quite some time before new purchases of GTA 4 are available for the platform. This is particularly a bummer when one considers the popularity of the game. In fact, it is considered by some to be the installment where the franchise truly peaked in terms of quality. Hopefully, PC gamers who haven't gotten to experience the story of Niko Bellic for themselves haven't missed their last chance. 

In the meantime, Grand Theft Auto 5 continues to receive regular content updates. Last year saw the addition of the Diamond Resort & Casino, which brought a whole new world of gambling to money-hungry players of GTA Online. In a less official capacity, many enterprising players have managed to discover (and restore) content that had been deleted from several games in the series. 

While the absence of GTA 4 may sting, at least gamers will have plenty of shenanigans to tide them over until Rockstar finally formally announces Grand Theft Auto 6