Ubisoft is the first major publisher to launch a major game via Steam's early access program. Is this the beginning of a trend where developers and publishers who make PC games take their games to Steam and let players play early alphas to shape the game before it officially launches? We're not sure but if it is, it looks like Ubisoft will be on the ground floor of the trend embraced by indies.
While Ubisoft has used the early access system before for other smaller games like The Mighty Quest for Epic Loot, and Might & Magic X: Legacy, this marks the first time a major developer has decided to bring a huge IP to the program. The game in question? The company's free-to-play shooter Ghost Recon Online.
Ghost Recon Online is currently playable globally via its website, but beginning today Canadian players will be able to access it via Steam Early Access – and later this Spring the game will be available worldwide.
"Bringing Ghost Recon Online to Steam has been our goal since the game's inception," Ubisoft producer Corey Facteau said in a statement sent to Gamasutra. "We took the time necessary to reach a quality level that can go head to head with the best online games available today before releasing on Steam… To ensure a seamless transition to the new platform, we will use Early Access to fine tune the Ghost Recon Online experience before releasing it to the rest of the world."
You can learn more about early access games on Steam here.