One of the most popular games on the gaming market right now is Ark, a game that has not officially been released to the market. Currently it is in a game preview state on both PC and the Xbox One while the developer continues to add more and more content as well as polish the game for a “final product.” We do know that servers will continue to operate as normal post launch and the developer continues to add new content like the upcoming Primitive Plus update with the Xbox One.
So what will happen with the game for new content after it does release?
[See Also: Ark: Pillar Spamming Changes Incoming!]
While the developer has stated before that they do not believe there will micro-transactions in the game, Studio Wildcard co-founder Jesse Rapczak clarified the studio’s beliefs in an interview with VentureBeat [under their format of GamesBeat]:
GamesBeat: To me, what you describe sounds like a combination of triple-A game design and free-to-play game design, where you’re constantly releasing new stuff to keep players engaged, but you’re also selling this $30 product that people can play without having to keep spending. Do you think we’ll see many other developers and publishers adopting this method?
Jesse Rapczak: I think so. Maybe due in no small part to what we’ve seen happening. I’m shocked — when we first launched the game, no way would we have projected numbers like what we have today. But I think what we’ve seen is, the value perception of ARK as a game is very high. There are so many people who think, hey, it’s on sale, it’s 15 or 20 bucks, why would you not buy it? I feel like everyone who has heard of ARK or has friends playing ARK might consider buying it, if for no other reason than the value proposition.
Very few games cost as little as ARK and provide that return of fun and entertainment for such a long period of time. Since the game is still being developed, there’s this ongoing, hey, it’s one way now, but in a couple of months, based on their track record, it’ll be different. By now we’ve proven that we’ll still be developing the game. It’s not going anywhere. When we first launched early access, a lot of people were like, who are these guys? They’re out of nowhere. What will they do with your money? But the bigger the game gets, the more we want to work on it. That’s what it comes down to.
GamesBeat: As you keep players engaged over time, as an outsider looking in—if a big publisher was responsible for this game, they’d say, okay, when do we start bringing in microtransactions? Selling items or doing a Valve model where you let the community sell items to one another while you guys take a cut. Is that in the works?
Jesse Rapczak: We’ll probably never do anything like microtransactions. We’re not very good at stuff like that, the free-to-play mentality. We’re good at bringing value to the game. We’re not good at micromanaging that value, trying to nickel and dime people. To us it’s too much of a distraction from developing a fun game. We just want people to always have all of that content. That said, we are thinking about, in the next few months, as the game approaches launch—we want to give people bigger experiences, not just content updates. We’ve talked about expansion packs we want to do.
For us an expansion pack is a huge thing. It’s not like, hey, here’s a couple more dinos. An expansion pack for us would be probably close to the order of magnitude of what the base game is, in a lot of ways. So we’re thinking about that. But again, when we do something like that, there will be a lot of value in that, just like there is in the base game. We’re not trying to do what some big publishers do, which is a unique position we’re in.
We’re in a game with a triple-A player base, but we’re a small team. We’re mostly about supporting those players, giving them new experiences, and bringing new ideas and new gameplay to the game, beyond what we’ve already said we’re going to ship. And so those are the things we’re thinking about for future monetization. Not changing the way the game is monetized. Just expanding with additional content and features down the road.
For many fans of the series, this is music to their ears. Studio Wildcard has done a pretty outstanding job of continuously releasing new content for the player base and do not foresee any reason to stop just because the game releases. With the modding community heavily embedded in formulating the end product for the game as is with The Center, Primitive Plus and Survival of the Fittest as shining examples of what could be part of the game, there is a chance that we will get to see some of these mods as potential DLC [on console] in the future, if not for free.