Time for a little tech talk with today's ARK: Survival Evolved news. Studio Wildcard is teaming up with Nitrado to provide rentable dedicated game servers for the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One versions of the game. If you're wondering what that means, exactly, then read on.
While the console (and PC, too, but we'll be skipping that platform for now) versions of the game do allow you and your friends to join up online in a private session, the main method for doing this is via a non-dedicated session, meaning the game is only available/running when the host is around. Additionally, players are essentially tethered to the host and cannot run off wherever they want. If you and your friends want to play whenever/wherever, then you'll need a dedicated server, which means someone will need a second console, a decent Internet speed, and do some setup to get that up and running. It's a bit much to ask of a friend, not to mention you shouldn't be stressing them out over five nines reliability.
So, the other solution here? Rent a game server for a period of time. There are a few standard options that range from $13 to $32 a month, and a custom option as well. At the moment, Nitrado only has servers for PlayStation 4 (and PC), but Xbox One servers will be available starting next month. The other feature they're touting with this service is something Studio Wildcard is calling "Cross-ARK":
[Cross-ARK] allows players to connect multiple custom private servers together to create a large cluster and jump seamlessly between different servers/worlds. All server settings can be adapted to the player’s preference by editing the settings through the web portal.
As a final reminder, you do not need to rent a server or host a dedicated server if you want to play ARK with friends. Just create a private non-dedicated server, invite your friends, and get to surviving!
ARK: Survival Evolved will see a final release on August 29 for PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One.