Earlier this week, Ark developers Wildcard Studios made the decision to roll the free-to-play standalone Ark: Survival of the Fittest back into the main, and not F2P, Ark: Survival Evolved. The decision was based on a number of factors, which the dev team spells out on the game’s Steam page.
The primary reason for the change was the release of the Ark development kit. Studio Wildcard didn’t want to restrict content creation between the paid and free versions of the game and eventually decided that the only way to rectify the situation was to pull SotF back and re-incorporate it into the paid title.
The developers also cite their inexperience working with free-to-play games and monetization and their unwillingness to “put a lot of resources and time into learning how to become a ‘free to play’ developer.” As they candidly state:
“We don’t know much about monetization, and quite frankly we aren’t interested in hiring an economics team to take over that process, it is much more in our and your best interest for Wildcard to solely focus on the development of a game. We just aren’t cut out for free to play mechanics.”
The e-sports push is still going for SotF, with the Survivor League finals taking place this Saturday, Aug. 6, with $65,000 in prizes up for grabs. There’s also the 100v100 “Naughty or Nice” mode in the works, which the devs hope to complete by the end of August and commemorate with a tournament to raise money for charity.
And, good news, if you downloaded and played Ark: Survival of the Fittest prior to Aug. 1, you can still play it as a free game without having to own Ark: Survival Evolved. All in all, if you have to pull back on your F2P ambitions, this seems like a good way to do it, by admitting your mistakes and treating your customers with respect.