Steam Deck has officially launched to great reviews. Valve’s handheld gaming device promises to bring the entire Steam library to a portable device. Whilst the majority of the Steam library is games developed for WindowsOS, the Deck opts to run a custom version of Arch Linux, called SteamOS 3.0.
The Proton software layer on Steam Deck aims to run all the games available on Steam (apart from the hardware limited titles like VR). To determine the status of compatibility, Steam has launched a rating system that tags games as 'Verified' (for a smooth experience on the Deck) or 'Playable' (for titles that will need some tinkering).
Steam Deck is the perfect time for Ubisoft to bring its games back on Steam
Since the launch of the Epic Games Store, Ubisoft has left Steam to sell titles on PC through the Epic Games Store and Ubisoft’s own Uplay (which has since been renamed to Ubisoft Connect). While older Ubisoft titles are being sold on Steam, newer titles have remained exclusive to the Epic Games Store and Ubisoft Connect.
While Epic does offer competitive pricing on titles, a majority of the PC playerbase has remained exclusively on Steam due to its accessibility and the curated library it has built up over the years. While Assassin’s Creed Valhalla has become Ubisoft’s second most grossing title with total revenue of over a billion, fans believe that it is mostly due to aggressive monetization. Furthermore, titles such as Watch Dogs Legion and Rainbow Six Extraction have failed to garner a substantial playerbase, despite having a cult following.
Previously, back in July 2021, Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot stated during the quarterly earnings call:
"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. 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."
While the reviews have proven that the Steam Deck is exactly what it promised to be, the backed-up pre-orders have proven that there is interest in the device. Hopefully, Valve will be able to hold on to this hype and begin selling in new regions to make the device a global sensation.
Whilst Ubisoft has shown interest in adopting new platforms and technologies, such as Google Stadia and Amazon Luna, coming back to Steam might not be as easy as it sounds.
One of the main reasons behind Ubisoft’s departure from Steam was the revenue split. While the company gets to keep 100% of all sales made on Ubisoft Connect, Steam takes a 30% cut. In comparison, Epic only takes a 12% cut. Granted Steam has made some significant changes to its revenue split policies, it still might not be enough to convince Ubisoft to sell their games on the platform.
Steam Deck is already on its way to becoming a worldwide sensation as it bridges the gap between PC gamers and console gamers. This makes the Steam Deck a perfect opportunity for Ubisoft games to return to Steam.