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CD Projekt RED ditches Steam for new Witcher games Gwent and Thronebreaker

CD Projekt RED ditches Steam for new Witcher games Gwent and Thronebreaker

Another big PC developer and publisher has dropped Steam in favour of its own platform

CD Projekt RED joins Activision and Bethesda in avoiding Valve's storefront, announcing that its Gwent Witcher card game and single player RPG Thronebreaker would be launching via its own GOG.com marketplace.

Both games are being released on October 4th on PC, with the PS4 and Xbox One SKUs launching on December 4th.

Gwent is a card game set in the universe of The Witcher. It debuted as an optional bit of fun in 2015's The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt. The project has been in beta since October 2016 but is finally rolling out in 1.0 form next month.

Thronebreaker, meanwhile, is a single-player role-playing game that uses Gwent's card game mechanics.

More and more publishers are giving Valve the slip and releasing on their own storefront. Activision announced its flagship Call of Duty franchise would be releasing via sibling firm Blizzard's Battle.net platform with Black Ops IIII.

Meanwhile, Bethesda recently revealed that Fallout 76 is going to be released via Bethesda.net.

Why companies are dropping Steam is down to a number of reasons. Valve's platform is currently saturated with releases, a problem that's only going to get worse with the company's new open platform policy.

Additionally, Fortnite is likely an influence. That game proved that you could have a mainstream hit on PC without launching on Steam. Epic's battle royale title was released via that firm's own platform.

Then there's the small matter of Valve taking a cut of all sales on Steam - money which some companies clearly feel is not worth the exposure they are supposed to get on that platform. 

Gwent and Thronebreaker are pretty niche releases and are likely only going to appeal to fans of CD Projekt and GOG.com already. The real test of whether that company is prepared to ditch Steam will be what it does when Cyberpunk 2077 comes out. 


Editor - PC Games Insider

Alex Calvin is a freelance journalist who writes about the business of games. He started out at UK trade paper MCV in 2013 and left as deputy editor over three years later. In June 2017, he was hired to launch PCGamesInsider.biz for Steel Media before departing the firm in October 2019.

He has also written for GamesIndustry.biz, VGC, Games London, The Observer/Guardian and Esquire UK.

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