Quantum Break, Remedy Entertainment's time-bending shooter about an experiment gone horribly wrong, is no longer available for purchase on Steam—but don't fret too much if you were just now heading to the site to buy it, because it'll probably be back soon.
The game also recently disappeared from Xbox Game Pass, a removal Remedy attributed to expiring licenses. More importantly, the studio said it'll be back once that situation is sorted.
A Microsoft representative said that licensing situation also applies to the Steam version of the game, which is why it was removed from sale—and so, it should be back there soon enough, too.
It sucks, but removing games with licensed content after the license expires is something that happens quite often. Music is probably the most common licensed content that ends up causing trouble—that's why Quantum Break's predecessor Alan Wake was removed from Steam in 2017—but just anything can do it. In 2022, for instance, Project Cars and Project Cars 2 were both removed from sale because of expiring car and track licenses.
In some cases, it's possible to simply remove the offending content and carry on, as Rockstar did with Grand Theft Auto 4. But when the content in question is central to the game experience, as was the case with Project Cars, publishers have to decide whether it's worth the hassle and expense to renegotiate the license deals. On older games that aren't really selling anymore, the answer is often "no."
(If you're curious, here are 15 other reasons that games disappear from Steam. Some of them are pretty weird.)
Fortunately for Remedy fans, publisher Microsoft answered "yes" to the question of Alan Wake, and brought it back on sale in 2018. It's also confirmed to be doing the same for Quantum Break—for Game Pass, at least. I've reached out to confirm whether that's the case for the Steam version as well, and will update if I receive a reply.