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Last Updated: Thursday, 20 December 2007, 11:48 GMT
Whistle blows on Sensible Soccer
Screengrab of Sensible World of Soccer on Xbox website, Microsoft
The game was widely trailed before being made available
Classic game Sensible World of Soccer has been removed from Microsoft's Xbox Live Arcade following reports that it was throwing players offline.

The game was put on Xbox Live Arcade as a download for owners of the console on 19 December.

But many who bought and downloaded it and tried to play online against other Xbox owners found that it disconnected them from the gaming network.

The game's makers said a fixed version would be posted as soon as possible.

Game over

Originally written by Sensible Software for the Amiga and Atari computers, the venerable football game has gathered a cult following since its appearance in the early 1990s.

The arrival of the game on the Xbox Arcade was widely promoted but the joy of fans was short-lived as the bug was discovered and the game was removed.

Codemasters, which now owns the game, posted a message to its support forum on the afternoon of the 19th explaining the disappearance.

The message said the problem with the online play was beyond its control to fix but added that Microsoft was working to correct the bug.

No timescale was given for when the fixed version would appear.

The message concluded: "We realise you have been waiting a long time for this release already and you (sic) continued patience is appreciated."

Disappointed fans posted messages to the same support forum criticising the release of the buggy version and calling for it to be fixed quickly.

One fan, called Taffdan, wrote: "...was up early before work to find that the game had come out but had been pulled.....poor show."

Larry Hryb, a senior executive at Microsoft, apologised to users on his personal blog.

He wrote: "If you downloaded this busted version, please delete it and when the new one is available you?ll be able to downloaded it again (at no charge if you purchased it.)" He added: "I?ll go yell at some folks for letting this happen."

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