If you go to the XBox 360 marketplace this week and look up the serialized video game Minecraft Story Mode, you might get a little sticker shock. Okay, more of a lighting bolt frying your brain — $99.99 is the tag.
That isn’t the price of the entire series, it’s just one individual chapter. Each chapter costs $99.99 and there are thirteen chapters in all, so to purchase Minecraft Story Mode on the 360 these days, one would need to spend $1,299.87. Just charge it.
Why exactly is this game — the digital version, no less — worth so much now? It isn’t. The ridiculous price is more of a preventative measure than an offer. The game is there, but technically Microsoft can’t sell it, and due to the strange way this aging marketplace (founded in 2005) works, this is the only way they can keep people from buying it.
Minecraft Story Mode was made by Telltale Games. Telltale Games no longer exists, and their Minecraft license is void. The game was removed from all storefronts at the time of Telltale’s bankruptcy, save one. Guess which one.
What Microsoft is doing here is actually an old retail trick. Whenever a product is recalled, stores will sometimes jack up the price of that item to the highest number a cash register can possibly detect. Just in case they can’t track down every single unit of that item, this will stop any further sales of it, saving the store from a potential lawsuit if that product was recalled for good reason.
On most of the digital storefronts where Minecraft Story Mode was once sold, those who purchased the game can still download a new copy of it. The 360 marketplace doesn’t have that kind of functionality (apparently), so this is the best Microsoft can do.
Currently a lot of Telltale games are in limbo, but several companies have expressed interest in buying the rights to those games and re-posting them on Steam and other markets.