A few weeks ago we got some solid indications that international mega-publisher Ubisoft would be slinking back to Steam, the de facto default for PC game stores. Lo and behold, le fils prodigue revient: as of yesterday, Ubisoft has posted Assassin’s Creed Valhalla to Valve’s ubiquitous storefront with a December 6th release date. It will follow with Anno 1800 and Roller Champions at some point.
Ubisoft is the latest huge publisher to venture out on its own with its a PC-based game launcher, then return to Steam’s profitable fold. Ubisoft’s brand of bloatware was called Uplay, which became the exclusive home of the publisher’s major franchises in 2019, and was rechristened Ubisoft Connect in 2020. EA and Activision pulled similar moves in an attempt to loosen Steam’s stranglehold on PC game sales, and eventually returned to the store as well. Perhaps having a viable, cross-company alternative in the Epic Games Store has made Steam more appealing.
Assassin’s Creed Valhalla was released a little over two years ago, and Anno 1800 is even older, though Ubisoft’s upcoming Steam titles are a little more recent. The multiplayer esports hopeful Roller Champions got a final release in May. Presumably the company will be using a multi-store approach going forward. “We’re constantly evaluating how to bring our games to different audiences wherever they are, while providing a consistent player ecosystem through Ubisoft Connect,” a Ubisoft representative told The Verge, apparently trying to grind for some kind of achievement for the most vague PR statement.
If you were hoping to reduce the number of launchers on your PC, too bad. The new Steam games still require Ubisoft Connect to be installed, even if the games themselves are purchased through Steam’s marketplace system. At least this should make it easier to access some games on the Linux-based SteamOS (through the Proton system), and by extension, the portable Steam Deck.