Ubisoft announced today that the upcoming historical strategy game Anno 1800 will be an Epic Games Store exclusive. It's scheduled for release on April 16, and so the last-minute change might naturally conjure memories of the Metro Exodus storefront switcheroo from earlier this year. But this case is a little bit different.
As with Metro Exodus, anyone who has pre-purchased the game on Steam will receive it there. But unlike Metro, Anno 1800 will remain available for pre-purchase on Steam right up to the scheduled launch date: It will only be removed from Steam after that. Ubisoft also emphasized that Steam owners will receive all the same updates and new content as those who purchase it from Epic or Uplay, and that all versions will be multiplayer compatible.
Ubisoft is clearly aiming to keep the uproar to a minimum, an effort that I suspect will not go especially well. I think it's a reasonable compromise to a touchy (and self-inflicted) problem, but I have a feeling that the distinction between this platform switch and that of Metro Exodus isn't going to carry much weight with people who have strong opinions about third-party exclusives—especially coming so soon after Epic Games Store boss Steve Allison said that "we don't want to do that ever again."
The notification about the change posted to the Steam page takes a somewhat less conciliatory tone. "Sales of Anno 1800 will be discontinued on Steam after April 16th due to a publisher decision to make the game exclusive to another PC store," it says. "The publisher has assured us that all prior sales of the game on Steam will be fulfilled on Steam, and Steam owners will be able to access the game and any future updates or DLC through Steam. We apologize to Steam customers that were expecting it to be available for sale after the April 16th release date."
Anno 1800 is now available for pre-purchase on Epic as well as Steam (and Uplay, if that's your thing), at the same price and with the same preorder bonuses. A pre-release open beta will run April 12-14, and will be available through either Epic or Uplay.