We’ve had the system requirements for The Division 2 but nestled alongside this was one other crucial piece of information - The Division 2 will not be launching on Steam. Ubisoft has instead opted into a partnership with Epic to launch The Division 2 on the Epic Games Store as well as Ubisoft’s own Uplay launcher. The Division 2 Steam page has now been pulled down.
Epic and Ubisoft say they’ll be working together to integrate the components of both the Uplay and Epic stores in order to allow both ecosystems work interoperably and with seamless social features. It sounds as if anyone buying Tom Clancy’s The Division 2 on the Epic Game Store will also require a Uplay install and login in order to boot TD2. Basically, how Steam currently works with Uplay.
“We entrust Epic to deliver a smooth journey for our fans, from preordering the game and enjoying our Beta to the launch of Tom Clancy’s The Division 2 on March 15,” said Chris Early, vice president of partnerships at Ubisoft. “Epic continues to disrupt the videogame industry, and their third party digital distribution model is the latest example, and something Ubisoft wants to support.”
“As long-time fans and partners of Ubisoft, we’re thrilled to bring a range of awesome Ubisoft games to the Epic Games store,” said Tim Sweeney, founder and CEO of Epic, and he of the bulging pockets. “We aim to provide the most publisher-friendly store, providing direct access to customers and an 88% revenue split, enabling game creators to further reinvest in building great games.”
What's really interesting in Sweeney's comment is the suggestion of a "range of awesome Ubisoft games". This could mean Ubisoft's back catalogue or, alternatively, Ubisoft is planning to bring more upcoming games to the Epic Store, such as Skull & Bones, Beyond Good & Evil 2, and the rumoured Splinter Cell game.
It’s a classic case of you scratch our back, we’ll scratch yours. Epic has probably convinced Ubisoft to make the move thanks to some sort of deal or financial wrangling. This could be cash, it could be a 0% cut loss leader, or it could just simply be that Ubisoft’s 88% take from an Epic sale is more tempting to the French publisher. As for Ubisoft, it’s long been trying to wrangle control away from Steam. Ubisoft launched Uplay and briefly experimented with launching games exclusively through its own store but the massive Steam user base has always forced it to revert to type. Clearly, Ubisoft feels this stranglehold can be broken with the arrival of the Epic Games Store, although it’s surely going to take a sales hit from ardent Steam users.
As for whether Ubisoft will eventually buckle and release The Division 2 on Steam, a Ubisoft representative said: “We have no plans currently on releasing Tom Clancy’s The Division 2 on Steam.”
It’s an interesting power-play, for sure. Fans are going to lose out on Steam integration but the core of it remains the same - you will have to launch The Division 2 through Uplay, regardless of how you buy the game. If you’re not a fan of the Epic Games Store or Epic’s way of doing things, you can just still buy The Division 2 directly through Uplay and play TD2 as normal.
The Division 2 launches on March 15th for PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.