Ubisoft Exec Believes Steam Is 'Unrealistic' For Developers

Ubisoft executive Chris Early says Steam's business model is just "unrealistic" for video game developers.
Ubisoft executive Chris Early says Steam's business model is just "unrealistic" for video game developers. Ubisoft

Ubisoft’s very own vice president for partnerships and revenue, Chris Early, has made some interesting claims about Steam. For him, the platform and its business model is just “unrealistic” this year.

In an interview, Early said that Ubisoft’s decision to stop selling its most recent blockbuster titles on Steam is simply because of Valve. According to him, the latter is not willing to bulge when it comes to the revenue sharing model. In case you did not know, selling on Steam means that the platform is capable of keeping at least 30 percent of a game’s overall sale price.

“It’s unrealistic, the current business model that they have,” Early said in the interview. “It doesn’t reflect where the world is today in terms of game distribution.”

The Ubisoft executive further explained that the decision to not sell The Division 2 on Valve's platform was made as part of a larger business discussion at Ubisoft with regards to releasing games on Steam.

Nonetheless, there are some observations that can be made in regards to the studio’s listing of its latest titles, particularly Anno 1800 and The Division 2. These two titles are both available on the Epic Games Store and Ubisoft’s own in-house store called Uplay.

Unlike Steam, these stores give Ubisoft the ability to keep a much larger slice of the profits. Epic Games, for instance, keeps less than half (i.e. 12 percent) of the revenue Steam acquires from developers and/or studios. Even more so, it tends to waive the five percent royalty for games developed using the Unreal Engine. Of course, Ubisoft is expected to take 100 percent of revenue for any title sold on Uplay due to the fact that the company owns the storefront.

Other developers are also voicing the same complaints, suggesting that Steam should start changing its monopoly on game sales. Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney, in the same article, said, "stores extract an enormous portion of game industry profits and are ripe for disruption."

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