Some time ago we learned that Studio Wildcard’s successful PC game ARK: Survival Evolved would be coming to PS4 in 2016. Reports have differed on when exactly this thrilling action/adventure game would reach the shelves for PS4, with some predicting June (which didn’t turn out to be accurate) and others looking to the holidays. But while PS4 fans are eagerly awaiting Survival Evolved, we’ve learned more recently that a newer version of the game — ARK: Survival Of The Fittest — will also be coming to PS4, largely for the purpose of eSports competition.
If the idea of eSports driving the development of a game seems a little strange, you may not realise just how big this “sport” has grown. It’s pretty common knowledge that more gamers are competing in public and many are tuning in just to watch them do it. But you might be surprised to learn that an estimated 70 million people worldwide now watch eSports with events drawing viewership that rivals that of marquee sports competitions. It’s all grown so popular that there are now even betting markets revolving around the outcomes of tournaments. So with all of this going on, it really isn’t much of a surprise that the chance to put together a major eSports draw would drive a release.
That the game would be developed for PS4 specifically shouldn’t be a surprise either. About a year ago we learned that Call Of Duty, one of the more popular franchises in eSports, would be moving to PS4 for eSports competitions (having previously been played on Xbox One). This was part of a major move Sony made to attract more gaming interest in the growing sport. The company also set up its own eSports league (PlayStation Official League) and secured all activity from the Capcom Pro Tour.
ARK: Survival Of The Fittest will represent the latest stage in PS4’s evolution as many people’s eSports system of choice. The game will reportedly be the same as the PC version that already exists, but will add additional features just for eSports. These will include a practice mode and a full suite of rankings, leaderboards, and more for players to reference. There will also be monthly cash prizes, which naturally incentivise eSports competitors to play and improve as quickly as possible.
The game was initially expected out on July 19, but reports indicate that it’s been pushed back so that ARK: Survival Evolved can still reach PS4 first. When it does debut, however, Survival Of The Fittest looks to be another triumph in eSports for Sony.