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Steam Deck success could tempt Ubisoft back to Steam

While there are plenty of Ubisoft games on Steam, the company hasn’t put anything on the platform since 2019’s Space Junkies. 

Search for Watch Dogs Legion, The Division 2 or Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, and you’ll come up empty handed, with Ubisoft preferring the rates offered by the Epic Games Store and cutting out the middleman altogether with its own shop. But that could all be set to change if the portable Steam Deck is a big success, according to company CEO Yves Guillemot.

When asked about his thoughts on Valve’s Switch-like PC portable during a call with investors, Guillemot was enthusiastic. “We’re happy to see Steam Deck coming to the industry, it shows that it continues a flow of very innovative new hardware coming to the market,” he said. “So we will look and see how big it becomes, but if it’s big we will be able to put our games on it.”

That’s a big “if”, of course, and provides plenty of wiggle room either way. And even if the Steam Deck is a runaway success, this likely won’t be a quick U-turn. The device won’t be in early adopters’ hands until December, and if you try and reserve one now with a £4 deposit, you’ll see an expected delivery date of Q2 2022. In other words, it’s going to be years before it’s clear whether Steam Deck is successful enough to warrant Ubisoft returning.

Of course, it should be perfectly possible to play even more recent Ubisoft titles on the Steam Deck even without the company making the games available on Steam. Valve has made it clear that while the system ships with Steam OS, there’s nothing stopping buyers installing Windows and putting other stores on the device. The big question is how many will actually bother.

Ubisoft announced a partnership with the Epic Games Store back in 2019 with the cuts taken by each platform the deciding factor. While Steam takes 20-30% of sales fees for games sold, Epic only takes 12% – a figure only bettered by Ubisoft’s own shop, where the company pays nothing to third parties at all.

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