Studio Wildcard’s dinosaur-themed survival/crafting game Ark: Survival Evolved has just seen a substantial price hike leading up to its full release. What was once a $29.99/£22.99 early access game has become a “full retail” $59.99/£54.99 product.
Any game on Steam’s Early Access program is supposed to be sold at a lower price than at full release as one of the benefits of buying an incomplete product. The point of this is so that players are investing in the development of a title that improves over time, if it ever does at all, and they receive the full product in the end for a discounted fee. In fact, the Early Access description of Ark: Survival Evolved says, ““Yes, the game will be lower priced through Early Access, relative to its final full-version retail price.”
Ark: Survival Evolved is a big game with a lot of problems, the majority of which are hopefully ironed out by its full release launch in August. With numerous controversies from lawsuits to the release of a DLC expansion before the game left Early Access, Ark: Survival Evolved is doing a very bad job at painting itself in a good light. This especially large price increase certainly won’t help.
The game will also be releasing a physical version, including a £69.99 Explorer’s Edition which, according to GAME, will include the game’s season pass. Ark’s season pass will include the previously released Scorched Earth expansion as well as two entirely new worlds that will become available on their respective launches.
All in all, Studio Wildcard certainly aren’t doing themselves any favors by issuing such a substantial price hike so soon, especially right after a Steam sale. Ark: Survival Evolved may have been popular at its original Early Access pricetag, but there is the possibility of this price increase adding substantial diminishing returns to the developer.