Remember when ARK developer Studio Wildcard announced a seven-year partnership with Nitrado for private server rental for the just-released ARK: Survival Ascended, which ended up being tied to a multi-million dollar debt? The move caused a major uproar with private server rental companies – and those companies have apparently pushed back and won.
Last week, Ryan Pennington, the CEO of Survival Servers, a company that specializes in offering server hosting services for survival sandbox games, penned a letter to the community characterizing the reveal of the exclusivity contract between Nitrado and Wildcard/Snail Games as something that made him feel “betrayed and blindsided” and says his company was “met with stonewalling” even when it offered to pool multiple server providers together to pay for the “exorbitant” debt that Wildcard and Snail owed Nitrado. The letter further argued that exclusivity deals such as the one penned between Snail and Nitrado are monopolist and can harm survival titles, with Conan Exiles, SCUM, and Last Oasis as given examples. The letter called on Wildcard and Nitrado to open up the server files for ASA by way of an online petition and points out that it will still offer private server hosting for Survival Evolved in the meantime.
And this petition – which collected nearly 6500 signatures and support from over three dozen hosts and modders – actually appears to have worked, as over the weekend Studio Wildcard removed SteamDRM, effectively lifting restrictions on hosting private servers. Follow-ups even clarify that monetization is permitted.
In other ARK and ASA news, on Sunday Wildcard announced that it’s added a raft of new official servers in North America and Europe.
We do not support any form of behind door deals between survival game developers like @survivetheark and server hosting companies. Survival Servers will NEVER engage in contractual monopolistic practices. Sign the petition to stand with the ARK community!…
— Survival Servers (@SurvivalServers) October 27, 2023