The war of the digital game stores continues, and this time it’s Epic making a major move. Today, Epic announced a deal with Ubisoft to bring The Division 2 to its freshly launched game store. The PC version of the online shooter will also be available through Ubisoft’s own digital store, but it won’t be for sale on Steam; this in spite of the fact that the original The Division was sold through Steam, and the sequel was previously listed on Valve’s store as recently as this morning. Ubisoft says that “any pre-orders previously placed elsewhere will still be honored.”
The Division 2, which launches on March 15th, will be the first big-budget title available through Epic’s store (it’s also coming to the Xbox One and PS4). The Fortnite developer debuted its PC game shop in early December, and the first batch of releases was full of notable indie games like Supergiant’s Hades and the PC debut of thatgamecompany’s Journey. The store will also be the exclusive PC home of The Walking Dead game’s final season starting with the third episode on January 15th.
But in order to truly compete with Steam, Epic will need blockbuster games from companies like Ubisoft as well, and it sounds like The Division 2 is just the start. The companies say that they will “also partner on additional select titles to be announced during the coming year.”
“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,” Ubisoft’s VP of partnerships, Chris Early says.
For years, Valve’s Steam has had a monopolistic presence in PC gaming, but there are signs that this could change, as a number of notable competitors have appeared of late. Epic is the largest, using the windfall of Fortnite to create a more developer-friendly platform. Just a few days after Steam announced a new tiered revenue sharing system that offered a more generous split for big games, Epic revealed its store, which would take a 12 percent cut of all sales, a significant decrease from the industry standard 30 percent. More recently, voice chat platform Discord revealed that its own fledgling store would give developers 90 percent of all sales starting next year.