Until recently, if a developer wanted to get their game released on Steam it had to be feature complete and labeled as such. But with the introduction of Steam’s Early Access program, indie devs can now publish their game through Steam all while they continue development.
The setup is win-win for the small developers, as it helps them build a community while simultaneously helping finance the final product. So it may be a bit surprising to learn, Ubisoft a AAA studio, also saw it as an opportunity to be the first major publisher to release a game through Steam Early Access.
That game just so happens to be Ghost Recon Online, a Free-to-Play session based shooter set in the near future. The choice for Ubisoft to debut GRO on Steam through Early Access may be strange to some, given the fact the game has been in open beta under Ubisoft’s own Uplay platform for well over a year. In fact, it can easily be argued the game is feature complete, as recent major updates have mainly consisted of balance changes, cosmetic item additions, and occasionally a new map. But it is clear Ubisoft sees Steam at the very least as a valuable platform for expanding its community past the relatively limiting confines of Uplay.
Ubisoft has yet to announce when GRO will officially debut on Steam’s Early Access page or whether the studio plans to offer exclusive item packs or other items for sale through the program as a way to gain “early access”.