And just like that, my interest went from curious to “hell yes”.
The Division 2, Ubisoft’s upgrade to an already highly successful MMO, is apparently going to release on Epic Store and the company for now has “no plans to release on Steam” (via official The Division 2 website). Epic has jumped right in on the action, first by being the first ones to port Journey to PC, then by giving away Subnautica and What Remains of Edith Finch for free in a way that would be something a paid subscription service would.
But now they scored their first big “exclusive” (there’s no telling if this status of the game will remain such, it very well may depend on how well the sales go) and Ubisoft states that they will continue to work with Epic with future titles. So could we see Skull & Bones and Beyond Good and Evil 2 as exclusive titles on Epic Store? Possibly. Only time will tell.
It’s clear that Epic has no intention of stopping their conquest. And make no mistake, this is a conquest. Ubisoft may be the big winner in the end due to taking this opportunity to act and if it does turn out to be a success, more will follow.
Although admittedly, there’s something of a pushback against this. It is to some extent just a part of the bigger pushback against Epic Store from people not realizing how damaging monopolies are, but some of it is a genuinely good argument for title exclusivity not being very pro-consumer anyhow. We know that Sony has been hoarding a sycophantic player-base for a while and is something they actively push for. And with Epic’s launcher user-base being comprised of rather young people due to Fortnite’s ubiquitous nature, this may be a recipe for future controversies.
But for now, this doesn’t necessarily change all that much. Exclusives have always exited in the industry and will continue to exist because it’s just flat profitable to maintain brand loyalty (I mean, that’s the whole point of having extra merch like… Christmas lamps) among your customers. But at the same time, Epic Store is sure to have a wide array of non-exclusive games and for those, competition between stores can lead to drop in prices and that in effect can lead to drop in prices for exclusive titles as well. In theory.
This is all speculative though. For now, it’s difficult to evaluate where things go from here. Either way, this changes to the industry leave me excited.