Though it’s been on the scene for a while, Ark: Survival Evolved has firmly retained its position as one of the most popular survival games. Ark has maintained a high position on the Steam popularity charts, occupying the 17th spot as of this date. But, as any perpetually popular game knows, the gaming landscape changes and what features are expected with it.
Enter cross-platform functionality. While it is a feature that has existed for some time, cross-platform has recently received a steady uptick in implementation, with more and more games offering it each year. Match this with Ark’s sizable player base, and it’s no wonder so many are asking the question – is Ark cross-platform?
Ark cross-platform functionality – an overview
For anyone wanting a quick and easy answer to Ark’s cross-platform status, I’ll have to disappoint you with a kind of. There are two reasons for this non-answer. Firstly, cross-platform is an umbrella term that encompasses several other features. Secondly, Ark’s cross-platform functionality differs from one device to another, making a decisive answer tricky to reach. Suffice it to say, Ark is cross-platform, but there’s more to the story, as we’ll get into now.
Cross-platform – cross-play, cross-save, and cross-generation
As aforementioned, cross-platform as a term can be broken into several other terms. Before getting into the meat and potatoes, I’ll summarize precisely what they mean.
Cross-play is what most people think of when they hear cross-platform. It refers to a game that supports multiplayer between players regardless of their device, whether Playstation, PC or anything else.
Cross save, often referred to as cross-progression, allows you to save your game on one device and then continue from that same point on another. For example, say you play a cross-save compatible game on Xbox, you would be able to continue from where you left off on PC. Halo Infinite looks to be gearing up this way, so there’s a more concrete example.
The last is cross-generation, which is by and large interchangeable with backward compatibility. It mainly refers to older games that can be played on newer devices, both single-player and online. For example, Xbox 360 games that are playable on the Xbox One are cross-generation.
Is Ark cross-platform compatible?
As I mentioned earlier, Ark: Survival Evolved has varying degrees of cross-platform functionality across different devices. I’ll be breaking down exactly what that compatibility is for each platform Ark is on, giving you that definitive answer you’ve been looking for.
Is Ark cross-platform compatible on Xbox?
Continuing our theme of frustratingly indecisive answers, kind of. While you can’t play Ark cross-platform with any Playstation or Nintendo systems, you can with the PC. Even then, you’ll need to make sure both you and your friends buy Ark through the Microsoft store. While inconvenient, this is because Microsoft and the usual PC storefronts use their own servers. This means that through Steam or Epic, you won’t be able to cross-play with Xbox, but through the Microsoft storefront, you can. Make sure you get the correct version, or you’ll have wasted some $50.
Is Ark cross-platform on PC?
Finally, a more concrete answer. By and large, the answer is yes, though it does depend on versions. For starters, as I’ve explained, if you want to play with Xbox, you’ll need to go through the Microsoft storefront. As for cross-play throughout the various PC storefronts and operating systems, you’re mostly good to go. Steam users will be able to cross-play with Epic users regardless of OS, which is also true for Epic. However, cross-play between Steam and Epic comes with a catch. As Epic currently doesn’t have a Steam workshop equivalent, modded servers will be inaccessible to Epic users. Sadly, that’s it for PC cross-play. If you want to connect with your Playstation or Nintendo buddies, you’re currently out of luck.
Is Ark cross-platform on Playstation?
Playstation is much more limited in cross-platform functionality, only being cross-generation with the Playstation 4 and 5. There’s no way around this, as Playstation are completely separate from any other devices as far as servers go. This may not always be the case as cross-platform continues to develop, but for the time being, there’s not much that can be done.
Is Ark cross-platform on Nintendo?
If you thought Playstation was limiting, Nintendo is something else entirely. As it stands, there is no Ark cross-platform functionality whatsoever, stopping you from connecting to both consoles and PC, in addition to having no cross-generational support either. In all honesty, if Ark’s main draw for you is the multiplayer, I’d buy it on another platform or miss it entirely.
Is Ark cross-platform on Mobile devices?
Going in the opposite direction to Nintendo devices, Ark has a good deal of cross-platform functionality on mobile devices. Apple and Android devices can work perfectly with one another, but other devices are sadly a no-go. Again, this may change in the future, but for now, mobile devices are stuck in their own pond.
The future of Ark cross-platform functionality
Although Ark: Survival Evolved occupies an awkward cross-platform middle ground, this is by no means the end of the story. It’s clear to see that cross-platform is a developing idea, one that is perfectly at home in gaming and being used to an even greater effect. With more developers breaking into the market, both small and large, they will be looking for features and draws that set them apart from the crowd. Given the potential of cross-platform functionality, it’s entirely likely that this is one such feature. Should cross-platform become more widely used, I expect that not only Ark but many more games will get the long-awaited cross-platform support they need. Until then, I’m afraid; we’ll just have to wait.