Update: The new Ubisoft games have now also been taken down in other Steam regions including the US and parts of the EU. "We are looking into it at the moment" is Ubisoft's cryptic response.
It appears that Ubisoft are set to tussle with Steam's near monopoly in digital PC game sales over the next few months, at least in the UK. Speaking to PCGamesN Ubisoft confirmed that Assassin's Creed Unity, Far Cry 4 and The Crew wouldn't available to UK residents via Steam on launch; instead the games will be sold through other digital distribution platforms - including Green Man Gaming and their own uPlay store - as well as traditional brick-and-mortal outlets.
The titles were missing from Steam UK Publisher lists earlier, and now the final nail appears to have been put in the coffin if Steam is your store of choice.
There's some speculation that the retail price for the three titles may have played a role in Ubisoft's decision to avoid Steam this time around. Both Assassin's Creed Unity and Far Cry 4 are listed at £49.99 digitally, considerably more than both the £35-40 point typical for both UK PC titles and the most expensive games currently on Steam. Alternatively Ubisoft may be chafing under Steam's stranglehold on digital distribution, seeking to drive more customers to UPlay as EA has done with major releases on Origin in the recent past. However the less-than-robust nature of the uPlay servers, as evidenced by an inconsistent launch experience for Watch_Dogs earlier this year, mean that this is an inherently risky proposition.
It's a blow for consumers who tend to expose their bank credentials to as few online stores as possible (thereby reducing risk somewhat), but perhaps more worrying are the hints that £50 is to be the new UK RRP for PC games. Coupled that with the monstrous minimum system requirements for Assassin's Creed Unity and it's looking like an expensive winter for anyone looking to stay current with Ubisoft's titles.
Assassin's Creed Unity, Far Cray 4 and The Crew are set to be released on November 13th, November 18th and December 2nd respectively.