Here’s your “out of left field” story for the day: Wildcard Studios’ dinosaur-themed survival game, Ark: Survival Evolved will be getting a free-to-play server on Jan. 1. The catch is that it’ll be in China only. Oh, and it’ll be operated by Snail Games.
According to 2p.com, the F2P server’s content will be the same as the Western version, though with higher efficiency in experience, material collecting, taming, and breeding. For additional convenience, there will be a tutorial, private messaging, and mail boxes. A “battle server” will also be implemented to allow two tribes to wage war on each other.
We also got an e-mail from 2p talking up the Chinese server, in which they stated:
Ark: Survival Evolved Online may not be released in NA and EU, but the game is different to Ark: Survival Evolved in business model and some gameplay systems
Any talk of “business model” for a F2P game has to include a cash shop, though there are not yet any details as to what that entails for the Chinese Ark server. Whatever it is, it could be that China is being used as a “test run” for a possible NA or EU release of a F2P Ark game.
Wildcard Studios already tried dipping its toes into the F2P realm with Ark: Survival of the Fittest, a F2P “battle royale” version of Survival Evolved, earlier this year. After five months, the developer folded it back into the main Ark game but apparently hasn’t given up on the idea altogether.
Would you hop into a F2P Ark server if it were offered in North America or Europe? Or will you be trying this Chinese server out?