Ubisoft was one of many publishers in the last few years to ditch Steam for its own storefront or Epic’s launcher. And like so many, including Activision, Ubisoft is now coming back to Steam with the upcoming release of Assassin’s Creed Valhalla on the platform, after 2019 comments from the publisher suggested the Steam distribution model was “unrealistic.”
Publishers are greedy. And most digital storefronts, like Valve’s uber-popular Steam, take a cut of every game sale and DLC purchased. So many publishers, like Activision, Ubisoft, and EA, have spent the past few years ditching Steam and creating their own PC launchers and storefronts to avoid getting a cut taken out. It got out of hand very fast and many of these launchers were shitty, offered little incentive to use, and felt like they were always one update away from breaking entirely. So, needless to say, a lot of people disliked publishers jumping off Steam. And in recent times, companies seem to have realized they are losing money by avoiding Steam while also burning cash on lousy launchers. For example, Ubisoft is back after mostly ignoring Steam for the last few years.
Over on Steam, you can see a newly created page for Assassin’s Creed Valhalla. The large open-world RPG was first released in 2020 on consoles and PC. But if you wanted to play it on PC you had to use Ubisoft’s launcher or the Epic Store, as it was one of the only Assassin’s Creed games to completely skip Steam. Now, it’s finally coming to the platform on December 6, just in time for the massive final update Ubisoft is releasing for the already-too-big RPG.
Kotaku has contacted Ubisoft about the news and if the game will require any additional launcher.
Eurogamer received a statement from Ubisoft confirming its return to Steam and also revealing that it plans to bring other games to the platform in the future, too.
“We’re constantly evaluating how to bring our games to different audiences wherever they are while providing a consistent player ecosystem through Ubisoft Connect. Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, Anno 1800, and Roller Champions are among the Ubisoft titles that will be releasing on Steam,” said Ubisoft in its statement to Eurogamer.
That sounds like you’ll still need to install and use Ubisoft’s own launcher to play these games, even if you buy them on Steam, which is both annoying and nothing new. It’s currently how older Ubisoft games like Far Cry New Dawn work on Steam.
This move is a big shift for the publisher. In 2019 Ubisoft called its choice to skip Steam a “business decision” instead deciding to release games like Assassin’s Creed on its then-named Uplay store and Epic’s store, where it gets a bigger cut of the sales. Later that year, Ubisoft’s vice president for partnerships and revenue called Steam’s distribution model “unrealistic” and further added that it didn’t “reflect where the world is today in terms of game distribution.” It seems things have changed and Steam is perfectly suited to 2022 and how games are bought and sold around the world. Funny that.