Ubisoft is pushing its way into the digital distribution platform space, launching Uplay PC, a new service that will compete with the game shops/communities of Valve's Steam and Electronic Arts' Origin.
This application builds on Ubisoft's similarly named Uplay online community for its games, as the desktop client requires users to register for a Uplay account. It features a shop for purchasing physical and downloadable games, free-to-play titles, achievements, cloud saving, a friends list, and a chat system.
Uplay PC also acts as a single area where users can launch their games from (instead of opening them from individual game launchers), just like EA's Origin or Valve's Steam services -- though Uplay PC so far only supports Ubisoft-published titles.
While Ubisoft is entering the digital distribution market relatively late compared to those competitors, the publisher has been building its Uplay community and positioning it for this service for some time now -- it currently has over 35 million registered Uplay members across various platforms.
For comparison, Origin has 21 million registered users across Windows and iOS (EA plans to also launch the service on Mac, Android, Facebook, and online-connected TVs) since launching a year ago, and the 9-year-old Steam has 40 million users on PC and Mac.
Ubisoft has placed a lot of emphasis on its digital strategy in recent years with numerous free-to-play and downloadable releases. That approach has paid off for the company through considerable growth in its sales, despite many other publishers suffering due to the weak retail market.
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