In brief: Metro Exodus hasn’t been the only game to face controversy for abandoning Steam. Before it was revealed that the third entry in the Russia-set franchise would be a timed Epic Games Store exclusive, Ubisoft announced that The Division 2 would also be skipping Valve’s platform. It seems the decision has paid off, with the upcoming title racking up more preorders than its predecessor.
In its earnings call for the third quarter of the fiscal year 2019, Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot talked about The Division 2 releasing exclusively on the Epic Games Store and Ubisoft’s own Uplay Store.
"There is a growing number of distribution platforms fighting for great content," Guillemot said. "With this deal, we saw an opportunity to increase player's exposure to our own store, while at the same time supporting a partner that greatly values our games and provides materially better terms."
Guillemot went on to reveal that moving away from Steam hasn’t hurt the Division 2’s preorders. More people have bought the PC version in advance of its release than for the first Division game, and it’s done especially well on Uplay, where preorders are six times higher. “We believe this deal is a long-term positive for Ubisoft,” added the CEO.
The Division 2 isn’t the only Ubisoft game coming to Epic's Store exclusively. The two companies said they would “also partner on additional select titles to be announced during the coming year.” The studio plans to release three or four AAA games between April 2019 and March 2020, though it never said what they might be.
Despite the protests from some gamers, it’s starting to look like the Epic Games Store is evolving into a real challenger to Steam, which has long been the dominant force in the digital PC games market. It still has a way to go—the small catalog and dearth of features compared to Steam remain issues—but Epic has definitely shaken up the industry.
The Division 2 arrives on March 15 on PC, PS4, and Xbox One. PC gamers who order now also get a free game: Ghost Recon: Wildlands, Far Cry Primal, or Watch Dogs 2. Check out the requirements here.