‘ARK: Survival Evolved’ Xbox Play Anywhere Will Support Windows 10 Server Hosting

ARK: Survival Evolved players on the Xbox One received a surprise during the Xbox E3 2016 media briefing when the game was listed as supporting the new “Play Anywhere” cross-buy and cross-play initiative with Windows 10 PCs. Studio Wildcard revealed Thursday there are some added benefits and limitations to supporting the open-world survival title on both platforms.

Studio Wildcard Co-Creative Director Jesse Rapczack appeared on the Twitch E3 2016 livestream and Xbox Daily livestream to discuss the “Play Anywhere” initiative with ARK: Survival Evolved. The Steam PC version of ARK will continue to exist as its own separate entity. It will remain the lead platform and run its own official and player dedicated servers.

Meanwhile, the Windows 10 PC version of ARK: Survival Evolved will come free with the purchase of the Xbox One edition (and vice versa). The two platforms will share the same servers allowing for players on both PC and Xbox One to play together. Additionally, it will allow players to set up their own dedicated server using a Windows 10 PC to run the game.

ARK: Survival Evolved The Center Skull Island (PC, Xbox One)

Currently, console players have to set up an Xbox One as a dedicated server for ARK. This means running the console 24/7 and dealing with the numerous limitations.

Running an Xbox One as a player dedicated ARK server is infamous for running out of memory and suffering other performance and stability issues when as the player count increases. It is also more difficult to manage the myriad of settings and support it than a regular PC server as many options are hidden, though Studio Wildcard is working to expose as many as possible in the user interface.

The ability to host Xbox player dedicated servers on Windows 10 PCs has another added benefit not specified Studio Wildcard at E3. This will also allow support for third-party hosting services to enter the picture and allow players to rent and run their own servers versus running one from their home. This is something Studio Wildcard has mentioned multiple times in the past, but is still not ready to share details.

ARK: Survival Evolved Swamp Cave (PC)

Support for rentable dedicated servers is something Rapczack has mentioned before.

“We’re working now to allow both players and third-party hosting companies to host Windows-based Xbox servers,” the Creative Director explained, as covered by Inquisitr in February. “That actually most of the people that play Ark on PC play on private servers; we could just never pay for all the servers for the players that are out there. That’s especially true on Xbox; it would be enormously expensive to keep these persistent servers up basically forever. Players start a character on there and that’s where their progress is.”

“We’re really excited to get that support out there, and part of that will be to make sure that the Xbox version and those servers are kind of kept up to date with the PC version and really allow those players to take advantage of the latest stuff. And when they’re hosting their own servers and stuff like that be able to configure them with the newest content and kind of customize it to the way they want.”

A timeline on when ARK: Survival Evolved will add support for Xbox “Play Anywhere” was not provided by Studio Wildcard. Microsoft is dropping titles that support the new initiative as soon as this summer with releases of titles like We Happy Few with it really taking off in the fall with Forza Horizon 3 and Gears of War 4. All Microsoft first-party titles will support the program going forward.

What do you think of ARK: Survival Evolved supporting cross-play and cross-buy for the Xbox One and Windows 10 PCs? Sound off in the comments below.

[Image via Studio Wildcard]