As 2013 drew to a close and with only a few hours left until the end of the Steam Holiday Sale, Marvel pulled Deadpool from Steam. Deadpool, which was deeply discounted during the sale, was one of several games Marvel pulled from all digital storefronts at the end of 2013.
Marvel first announced that it was going to pull games featuring Spider-Man, the X-Men, Deadpool, and more from all digital storefronts (consoles included) on December 21, but did it through the relatively obscure The Amazing Spider-Man Game Facebook page . Ironically, at this time The Amazing Spider-Man Game is still available to download on Steam.
Activision Community Manager Dan Amrich confirmed on Twitter that Marvel has pulled Activision's titles as the licensing contract between the companies expired. While Deadpool has already disappeared from Steam, at this time The Amazing Spiderman, another Activision game, is still available to download, as are the free-to-play Marvel Heroes and LEGO Marvel Superheroes . Amrich says Marvel has also pulled Capcom's Marvel vs. Capcom games from digital storefronts, so it's not Activision games alone that are being affected.
Remember that Marvel joined the ever-growing media force which is Disney in 2009, when it was acquired for about $4 billion. With Marvel, Pixar, and Star Wars, you might be tempted to speculate about a Disney-dedicated digital storefront. While that's certainly not out of the question, it's not as if Disney pulled all of its games from digital storefronts. It pulled only specific games based on specific characters.
Additionally, Marvel and its different characters are wrapped up in convoluted licensing agreements according to which The Avengers is handled by Disney, The Amazing Spider-Man movies are distributed by Sony, and LEGO Marvel Superheroes is published by Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment. We've seen licensing agreements take games away from Steam only to bring them back later, as with Crysis 2, for example , so there's no telling what Disney's plan is right now, or that the games will not be back on Steam at a later date under a new agreement.