Ubisoft and Epic have revealed the first details of a new deal that will see The Division 2 and other future Ubisoft titles possibly skip Steam and launch exclusively on the Epic Games Store.
“We have no plans currently on releasing Tom Clancy’s The Division 2 on Steam,” said a Ubisoft representative in an e-mail to Polygon. “[We will] also partner on additional select titles [coming to the Epic Games Store] to be announced during the coming year.”
Since then, Ubisoft vice president of partnerships, Chris Early, has come forward to share some more details about the partnership. According to Early, Ubisoft will “entrust Epic to deliver a smooth journey for our fans, from preordering the game and enjoying our Beta to the launch of Tom Clancy’s The Division 2 on March 15.” On top of that, he said that “Epic continues to disrupt the videogame industry, and their third-party digital distribution model is the latest example, and something Ubisoft wants to support.”
While Early doesn’t comment on whether or not future Ubisoft titles on PC will skip Steam when the game launches, the fact that they are willing to make such a move with a game as big as The Division 2 would tend to suggest that they are at least open to the possibility. In any case, Ubisoft has already stated that they are honoring non-Epic Store pre-orders for the game via that platform.
If Ubisoft does indeed enter a long-term timed-exclusive arrangement with the Epic Game Store, it would honestly be fairly surprising. Yes, we know that Steam takes a much larger cut of the profits than Epic does, but you could still argue that the incredible popularity of Steam means that your game (even a game as big as The Division 2 and other Ubisoft titles) will be seen by more users. Of course, companies like Ubisoft “jumping ship” and choosing sides may go a long way towards users deciding to just go wherever the games are.
It will certainly be interesting to see whether Epic is able to use the continued financial success of Fortnite as the basis for a new retail outlet that will indeed disrupt the current order of the video game industry.