Tom Clancy's The Division 2 won't be launching on Steam, but Massive Entertainment and Ubisoft's upcoming co-op shooter will launch on Epic's increasingly popular games store, as announced here. Ever since Epic unveiled their store in early December, they've been racking up independent exclusives, but signing a multi-game agreement with Ubisoft feels like a big deal. The game will still be available direct from Ubisoft via Uplay, but the Steam store page has now vanished (a Google-cached copy here), with an Epic Store page taking its place. The game launches March 15th.
So far, Epic Store exclusives have been mostly from smaller developers and publishers. Giving away Subnautica for free drew in a lot of interest, but until today there were no massive publishers committed to exclusivity. It's not a huge surprise, given Epic's promise to take a much smaller revenue cut than Steam (12% instead of Steam's initial 30%, decreasing for big sellers) but this move implies that Ubisoft sees a future for this new store. Epic's announcement also mentions that the companies "will also partner on additional select titles to be announced during the coming year".
Even if initial sales are good, it'll be some time until the Epic Store can be a true rival to Steam, but Ubisoft banking on it feels like a major shift. EA's games are now mostly Origin-exclusive on PC, but I wonder if Epic's promise of a growing new storefront offering a preferable revenue split won't lure them back. Either way, with big publishers now considering a Steam launch optional and even unnecessary, I feel we're seeing a major split happening here in PC games distribution. Whether there's any advantage to be gained for customers is yet to be seen.
Tom Clancy's The Division 2 is out on March 15th, and you can find out more (including details of beta sign-ups) in Dave Irwin's info-dump here. The first game - well worth playing after updates - is headlining the current Humble Monthly, if you're looking for a cheap peek at the series.