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The idea of a "console war" isn't new. Many gamers like to fly the banner of their favorite platform and cheer boisterously when Xbox, PlayStation or Nintendo lands an exclusive game. That kind of competition has been missing on the PC front, however, with today's news concerning The Division 2 signaling that times are changing.
As is being reported by Game Industry, Ubisoft revealed today that The Division 2 will launch exclusively on PC through Epic Games. That's a bit of a shock, as it means that this will be one of the first major AAA launches that will completely sidestep the current king of the digital storefront mountain, Steam.
At first glance, that might not seem like that big of a deal. Console game exclusivity typically has more weight because the price of entry is a console that costs hundreds of dollars. You can set up both a Steam and Epic Games account free of charge, so it isn't like you're "backing" either distributor by buying their hardware. But both Valve/Steam and Epic get a cut of games sales on their respective platform, so having something like The Division 2 pop up on one and not the other could be a very big deal for these entities.
For years now, Steam has been pretty much the only show in town. No disrespect to the other digital platforms for PC, but they typically don't boast exclusive games and, if they do, they're not on a platform that has shown any signs of going toe-to-toe with Valve's monster. Epic, though, actually stands a chance of creating some competition on the PC front, which is what makes this kind of exclusivity noteworthy. Competition usually breeds better service/options/etc. for customers and, without competition, some argue Valve has allowed Steam to become a less-than-ideal place to play/sell/buy games.
The Epic Games storefront was revealed late last year, bolstered by the fact that any of the insane number of people playing Fortnite already had an account. During The Game Awards, oodles of titles were revealed to be launching on the platform, and now The Division is set to be a major exclusive. Epic is taking a smaller cut from games sales and is actually curating what games are allowed on its service, something Valve has basically thrown out the window at this point. It's also giving away a pair of free games to members each month just for signing up.
In other words, Epic is making a major push to be a real Steam competitor and, if that saying about competition holds true, it will hopefully mean a brighter PC gaming future for both developers and players.
It was also noted that Ubisoft aims to make similar exclusivity deals with Epic over the coming year, so it looks like that's at least one major game publisher that is banking heavily on the new PC storefront becoming a major player.