Ubisoft’s executive, Chris Early, who is also the VP for partnerships and revenue at the company, has made some statements about how Ubisoft feels in regards to Steam, and why Ubisoft doesn’t let its games be sold on Steam any longer. According to Early, Steam’s business model is unworkable, or at least it soon will be as game distribution continues to evolve.
“It’s unrealistic, the current business model they have. It doesn’t reflect where the world is today in terms of game distribution,” he said.
To be fair, it’s kind of unclear what part of the business model Early is referring to. After all, Steam is the number one distributor of PC video games online, so clearly they are doing something right, at least for now. He could be referring to the revenue split, in which Steam usually takes 30% of sales, leaving only 70% for the actual game publishers and developers. The much more recent Epic Games Store gives roughly 88% back to the developers and publishers, so it’s clear that they are offering a much better deal for the companies that they work with.
That being the case, it’s no great surprise that Ubisoft released The Division 2 on the Epic Games Store, as opposed to Steam. They also offered it on their own selling platform, Uplay. After their decision to not release one of their biggest 2019 games on Steam, sales of the game on Uplay grew approximately 10x.
Considering that they already made the decision to skip on Steam with The Division 2, and the fact that one of their next major games, Ghost Recon: Breakpoint, won’t be sold on Steam either, it seems fairly likely that Ubisoft doesn’t plan on working together with Steam too much in the future, if at all. And why would they? They can make a lot more money selling on the Epic Games Store, or even just Uplay.
With many other companies looking into establishing their own platforms for selling games, and Epic Games already being a major competitor for Steam, it’s not a stretch to think that Valve’s platform might be in trouble. If they don’t change their cuts to be more competitive with Epic Games, many publishers and developers will probably go to the platform where they get to keep more of their own money. As to whether or not Steam will do that, or if Ubisoft will ever sell their games on the platform again, remains to be seen.