We’re about a month removed from the launch of Ubisoft’s promising sequel to 2016’s The Division, and many are counting on the title acting as a vast improvement to its relatively underwhelming predecessor. While those who’ve gotten an early glimpse at the game seem to be singing its praises, Ubisoft seems wary of its partnership with Epic Games on PC—so much so that they plan on incentiveising pre-orders by bundling them with some of their older triple-A games.
As of right now, customers who pre-order the upcoming second installment in Ubisoft’s The Division franchise will receive one free game from a choice of three, those being Watch Dogs 2, Ghost Recon: Wildlands, or Far Cry Primal. Tossing in bonuses to sweeten an often sour pre-order deal is nothing new, but the fact that the often stingy publisher is giving away games seems to suggest that they may be regretting their commitment to the Epic Games storefront.
The Division 2 won’t be entirely exclusive to the Epic Games Store, of course, as players will still be able to download it from Ubisoft’s proprietary Uplay service. Opting to forego a release on Steam may hurt the game’s sales on the platform, though, as the PCMR crowd typically doesn’t take all that kindly to Valve’s digital distribution competitors.
This move may have come as a result of the recent fiasco involving 4A Games’ Metro Exodus, the much-anticipated title which was initially available for pre-order on Steam before publishing house Deep Silver stepped in and forced Epic Store exclusivity on an incredulous market. That controversial move caused fans of the series to review-bomb the previous two Metro titles on Valve’s service, and it is more than likely to harshly impact the game’s sales on PC when it launches on the 15th.
Of course, throwing in an older game as part of a pre-order bonus isn’t anything new, and it could be that Ubisoft’s only intention is to focus on The Division 2 pre-sales. Plus, Ubisoft’s partnership with Epic Games may have more to do with dethroning Steam than a genuine appreciation for what their newfound competitor is doing. That said, this deal seems to be PC-exclusive at the moment, implying that Ubisoft’s faith in the notoriously fickle PC crowd has been diminished.
While the game will certainly be playable on Epic’s launcher, the service has been met with a notable amount of controversy in recent weeks. Though most consumers wouldn’t necessarily mind a challenger to Steam’s crown, the Fortnite developer seems to be going about it the wrong way. The Epic Games storefront doesn’t allow users to submit game reviews, has been hesitant to introduce regional pricing of products, and has thus far forced its own relevancy by throwing money at publishers in exchange for digital exclusivity. This deal comes with quite a few drawbacks, and it’s hard to know just what the future will hold for the PC edition of The Division 2.