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2020-05-03

Why is Assassin's Creed Valhalla not going to be on Steam

Image:-Assassin's Creed Valhalla

Assassin's Creed Valhalla will not be available for buy from Steam for the first time in series history. PC players looking to play the upcoming game inspired by Norse mythology will be able to buy the game either from the Epic Games Store or from Ubisoft's own Uplay store. Uplay+ subscribers will also be able to access the service via Valhalla.

This announcement is unsurprising given the recent attitude Ubisoft has taken toward Steam. After years of selling major games on Valve's online store, the company did not release the Tom Clancy's The Division 2 on Steam last year. Ubisoft executive Chris Early even described Steam's business model as "unrealistic" and not reflective of "where the world is today in terms of game distribution."

Early, as well as other developers, took issue with the revenue-sharing model for Steam. Steam typically retains about 30 per cent of game sales profits, with the remaining 70 per cent going to developers and publishers. On the other hand, the Epic Games Store has courted developers by keeping only 12 per cent of revenue for themselves, meaning that publishers and developers are making more on each sale. Epic also waives the royalty of five percent for the use of its Unreal Engine for developers releasing games on its store.

Epic's success, much of it from Fortnite, has enabled it to work out some controversial exclusivity deals that have angered many gamers as an alternative to Steam since the storefront launched in 2018. Developers who have announced their games will be exclusives of the Epic Game Store, even temporarily, having received a deluge of negative reactions from gamers regarding this unfriendly consumer practice. The store itself has gained criticism for lacking basic features such as user reviews and wishlists that at launch gamers are used to from other similar platforms, though this has begun to change.

While the details of both Ubisoft and Epic's deal are unclear, releasing The Division 2 on the Epic Games Store (and bypassing Steam) has certainly worked out multiple ways for Ubisoft. Besides taking a larger share of profits from the deal with Epic, the game also sold ten times more than the first game The Division did on Uplay while selling roughly the same number of overall PC copies. While other games, such as Borderlands 3 and Metro Exodus, initially launched exclusively for PC as the Epic Game Store, both games have come to Steam since. Between the more developer-friendly business model of Epic and being able to sell more copies on a store it doesn't have to pay a merchant's fee on it, unless Valve makes some major changes, Ubisoft won't see a reason for going back.

Assassin's Creed Valhalla is scheduled to release in Holiday 2020.