In a surprising move, Ubisoft has announced that its upcoming online shooter The Division 2 for PC will not be coming to Steam. Instead, The Division 2 would be coming to the Epic Games Store and Ubisoft’s own storefront and digital rights management client, Uplay. Furthermore, the Steam page for The Division 2 has been deleted although Ubisoft claims pre-orders on Steam would be unaffected. That said, Ubisoft did state that other games would be coming to the Epic Games Store and they would be announced over the course of the year. As for why Ubisoft would dump Steam? The difference in revenue split, with Epic Games offering 88 percent of the profits over Steam’s 70 percent probably sealed the deal. What’s more is, Ubisoft has no plans to bring The Division 2 to Steam at all.
“Ubisoft has no plans on releasing the Tom Clancy’s The Division 2 on Steam,” the company said in an email to PC World. “It was a business decision to focus on Epic Store and Ubisoft Store for distribution of The Division 2 on PC. Ubisoft fully supports Epic and their third-party distribution model, which is in the long-term, beneficial for publishers both large and indie and the video games industry. We hope this partnership helps to validate and evolve the model.”
It’s an odd move for Ubisoft. Reason being, regardless where you buy The Division 2 or any Ubisoft PC game for that matter, you’ll end up having to use Uplay. If it fully supported Epic Games’ endeavours and wanted to keep its vociferous PC fan base happy, it would have made The Division 2 available on all platforms. The fact that it decided to remove the game from Steam possibly means that Epic Games may have had to pay Ubisoft to keep it off Steam.
From a user standpoint, this isn’t good news. Despite Epic Games’ proclamations on focusing on serving game creators, the Epic Games Store client itself is barebones and lacks any features that help consumers. So much so that many find themselves using Steam’s forums for after-sales support. And while this may change in the future, right now Ubisoft’s move does little to help its audience.
It’s pretty much symbolic of the state of PC gaming as a whole. Valve’s inability to provide a developer-friendly space while providing features users need like a painless refund system and big picture mode has resulted in Epic Games trying to steal its thunder by simply undercutting its revenue split while forsaking the aforementioned user requirements.
From Ubisoft’s point of view however, this appears to be a good move. Or so the company would have us think.
“We entrust Epic to deliver a smooth journey for our fans, from pre-ordering the game and enjoying our Beta to the launch,” said Chris Early, Vice President of Partnerships at Ubisoft. “Epic continues to disrupt the video game industry, and their third party digital distribution model is the latest example, and something Ubisoft wants to support.”