After a couple of months in digital limbo, Rockstar has now shared that GTA4 is going to become digitally available once again on PC. The game was removed from Steam due to DRM issues early this year and will be back on March 19 via Steam and the Rockstar Games Launcher. There is a very unfortunate caveat, though.
For the longest time, games have made use of third-party software to offload work for developers. Whether it’s physics systems or online software. GFWL (Games for Windows Live) was one such piece of software that handled the online game service of a number of games. The system worked as the technical backend that handled the multiplayer for a variety of PC games, among them Grand Theft Auto IV. It was owned by Microsoft who shut it down in 2014, and with it the future of many multiplayer modes became uncertain.
Starting 03/19/2020, Grand Theft Auto IV: Complete Edition will replace both Grand Theft Auto IV and Grand Theft Auto: Episodes from Liberty City wherever it is currently digitally available. Grand Theft Auto IV: Complete Edition will as also be available via the Rockstar Games Launcher.
Current game save files will be compatible with Grand Theft Auto IV: Complete Edition.
Due to technical reasons by GFWL, Rockstar even had to take Grand Theft Auto IV off the Steam store this January. Now, the developer has posted a statement with regard to the future of GTAIV. The good news is, Niko Bellic’s awesome adventure will soon return to Steam next month. Furthermore, GFWL will be removed but instead of reworking the game to use their own online software, the entire multiplayer portion of GTAIV on PC will simply no longer work.
A real kicker for fans of the game. While GTAV has long dethroned and even overtook its predecessor especially with its more content-rich online modes, it still stings that Rockstar has no interest in putting the effort into re-implementing multiplayer into Grand Theft Auto IV. Likely because of licensing issues, several radio stations will also no longer be available going forward.
Grand Theft Auto IV is also backward compatible with Xbox One which is currently still live.