Those looking to reserve a copy of the upcoming Tom Clancy’s The Division 2 on PC without dealing with Ubisoft directly had better do so soon; the publisher has recently announced that, once the games drops on the fifteenth of March, it will be exclusive to Uplay, their proprietary digital storefront, as well as one other controversial platform.
News of this questionable move broke when third-party gaming retailer Gamesplanet announced on the title’s store page that Ubisoft has mandated that sales be halted once the game goes live next week. That’s unfortunate news, but that’s not all. The only other digital storefront allowed to peddle the game will be—say it with me, now—the Epic Games store.
That’s right, Epic has once again gone behind the backs of gamers and struck an exclusivity deal with another major publisher. The Fortnite developer has more or less forced their way into the PC gaming distribution space by gobbling up a number of hotly-anticipated releases and holding them hostage on their new service. Most agree that this practice is annoying and unfriendly to consumers, and it paints a very negative portrait of the otherwise oft-praised studio.
This comes mere weeks after Epic caught a ton of flak from the PC gaming community for striking an exclusivity deal with Metro Exodus publisher Deep Silver which resulted in the title being removed from Steam after pre-orders had already been made available for the service. While consumers are often thought to have relatively small attention spans thanks to the industry’s minute-to-minute news cycle, Epic seems to have further muddied the waters before the dust kicked up by their previous indiscretions has settled.
Ubisoft seems eager to prop up the new digital distribution service, and the company’s vice president of partnerships Chris Early was quick to extol their new platform. “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 15th.”
Yet, what does the Far Cry and Watch Dogs publisher stand to gain from this deal? While they may have a genuine interest in Epic’s new business venture, it’s more likely that they hope to join with their competitors in an effort to rival Valve’s beloved platform. Uplay and the Epic Games Store are fairly controversial among gamers, but, if Steam simply isn’t an option, they may have to take it on the chin and download one of those other services regardless of reputation. While the deal masquerades as market competition, both parties have to know just how obnoxious this is for the average consumer.