Early last month the developers of popular early-access survival game ARK: Survival Evolved announced a firm release date for the title. After over two years of being in early access (and 258 patches) the game will be released on August 8, 2017 for PC, Mac, Linux, Xbox One, and Playstation 4.
It was also announced that a new free piece of 3rd-party DLC was being released. The Ragnarok expansion map is the first mod to be integrated into ARK: Survival Evolved via its sponsored mods program. The DLC was developed by creators of popular ARK mods Valhalla and Umassoura. Again, it is completely free, and is released (so far) just for the Steam platform. The DLC is slated for release on consoles sometime in July. Note that the DLC is currently unfinished and will be receiving regular updates as it continues development.
Unfortunately, it seems a new controversy has emerged over the developer’s business practices. As of July 5, 2017, the game has doubled in price, from $29.99 to $59.99USD (a whopping 69,99€). While it had been previously mentioned that the game was set to increase in price when it left early access, this price bump is pretty darn large as far as price increases go. Furthermore, the move to increase the price over a month before the game releases may have caught some users off guard, seemingly contributing to their frustration.
ARK: Survival Evolved is no stranger to controversy. Back in 2016 the game’s developers received a lot of criticism for releasing a $20 DLC expansion for the game, well before the game was slated to leave the Steam early access program. The developers responded by stating that it was “[Imperative] to iterate on [the updated] systems during Early Access than after retail launch, given the significant risks involved if we didn’t ‘get it right’.” If that is the case, then why were those iterations released as paid DLC? More specifically, why was paid DLC developed before the release of the core game?
It is worth noting that many users are still complaining about major bugs, balance issues, severe optimization/performance issues, and problems with their games being infested with cheaters. It’s unclear at this time whether or not any of these issues will be dealt with leading up to the release date (or even in post-release). The developer has not addressed these problems specifically, which has caused a bit of a stir on the announcement post. Hopefully these issues will be addressed properly by release.