If you were keeping up with Xbox Live Arcade releases a decade ago, then you are a member of the exclusive club that will remember Poker Smash fondly. A match three game with poker theming and some unique mechanics, it stood out from the competition. It also gathered enough of a fanbase to warrant a successful $8,000 Kickstarter campaign to fund a PC version of the game years later. Sadly, while work was being done on the port and the game got through Steam's Greenlight system, a quick check of what was once their official website makes it seem that Void Star Creations is not a going concern in 2017.
This means that, among other things, Microsoft has removed the game from Xbox's digital store. This is expected considering that they can't sell a game published by a company that doesn't exist. What is unexpected is that Microsoft has also removed Poker Smash from Xbox One's backward compatibility program. The game was only made playable on Xbox One back in March, and this step hasn't been taken in similar situations in the past (such as the period Castle of Illusion was delisted from digital storefronts in 2016).
For those affected by the removal, Microsoft has put up an FAQ with some details as to getting refunds for DLC purchases. Anyone who downloaded the game during the time that it was available on Xbox One will be receiving a free copy of Hexic 2 via Xbox One's messaging system. As with all delisted Xbox 360 games, owners will still be able to download and play the game on its original platform.
TechRaptor has contacted representatives from Microsoft and Void Star Creations and will update this story with any further developments.
Quick TakeI played a lot of Poker Smash on Xbox 360 back in the day, so I was happy to see the game make a brief return earlier this year and I am devastated to see it removed from Xbox One. I have to assume that there is some legal reason as to why the game can no longer exist on the newest Xbox, especially since Microsoft doesn't just break out the freebies for nothing. From a game preservation standpoint, seeing that legal troubles can remove games from future platforms in addition to making them unable to be purchased is a worst case scenario and I can only hope that this is a unique circumstance.
Did you ever play Poker Smash? What are your thoughts on Xbox One Backwards Compatability and game preservation? Let us know in the comments below!