For the first time in series history, Assassin’s Creed Valhalla won’t be available to purchase from Steam. PC players looking to play the upcoming Norse mythology inspired game will be able to purchase the game from either the Epic Games Store or Ubisoft’s own Uplay store. Uplay+ subscribers will also be able to access Valhalla through the service.
This announcement is unsurprising given Ubisoft’s recent attitude towards Steam. The company didn’t release last year’s Tom Clancy’s The Division 2 on Steam after years of selling major games on Valve’s online store. Ubisoft executive Chris Early even called Steam’s business model “unrealistic” and not reflective of “where the world is today in terms of game distribution.”
Early, and other developers, have taken issue with Steam’s revenue-sharing model. Steam typically keeps about 30 percent of the profits from game sales, with the remaining 70 percent going to the developers and publishers. The Epic Games Store, on the other hand, has courted developers by keeping only 12 percent of revenue for itself, meaning publishers and developers make more on each sale. Epic also waives the five percent royalty for using its Unreal Engine for developers who release games on its store.
Epic’s success, much of it stemming from Fortnite, has allowed it to work out some controversial exclusivity deals that have angered many gamers since the storefront launched in 2018 as an alternative to Steam. Developers who have announced their games will be Epic Game Store exclusives, even temporarily, have received a deluge of negative reactions from gamers regarding this consumer-unfriendly practice. The store itself has garnered criticism for lacking basic features like user reviews and wishlists that gamers are used to from other similar platforms at launch, though that has started to change.
While the details of Ubisoft and Epic’s deal are unclear, releasing The Division 2 on the Epic Games Store (and bypassing Steam) certainly worked out for Ubisoft in multiple ways. On top of taking a larger share of profits from the deal with Epic, the game also sold ten times more than the first The Division game did on Uplay while selling around the same number of PC copies overall. While other games, like Borderlands 3 and Metro Exodus initially launched for PC as Epic Game Store exclusives, both games have since come to Steam. Between Epic’s more developer-friendly business model and being able to sell more copies on a store it doesn’t need to pay a merchant’s fee on, unless Valve makes some major changes, Ubisoft won’t see a reason to go back.
Assassin’s Creed Valhalla is slated for a holiday 2020 release.
Assassin's Creed Valhalla will be released on the Epic Games Store and Ubisoft's own Uplay store, bypassing digital distribution giant Steam.