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Ark: Survival Evolved Is Technically Cross-Platform (But It's Complicated)

After the "Ark 2" reveal trailer dropped in 2020, it's been clear that the sequel will have some major differences that'll completely change the "Ark" experience — one of the most notable being that the highly anticipated sequel starring Vin Diesel will, unfortunately, be a Microsoft exclusive, only available on the PC and Xbox Series X|S. Compared to the omni-platform "Ark: Survival Evolved," it's quite a bit of a downgrade in terms of availability. There's yet to be any word on if "Ark 2" will be a timed exclusive or remain on the Microsoft platforms forever.


The good news is that "Ark: Survival Evolved" is cross-platform, and players can enjoy it right now. Despite technically supporting cross-platform play, the first game in the multiplayer series doesn't exactly manage to bring all the platforms together, nor divide them into clearly delineated platform pools that can only play with each other. Instead, players have to navigate a slightly complicated set of viable, overlapping crossplay combinations. 

The complicated issue is that not all platforms can play with each other

For a game that's available on PC, PlayStation, Xbox, Nintendo Switch, Google Stadia, and mobile phones to have cross-platform support sounds too good to be true — and unfortunately, the reality doesn't quite measure up to that. "Ark: Survival Evolved" has a few strange possible crossplay combinations, with some platforms having much more flexibility than others:

  • PlayStation and Xbox users can play cross-gen within the same console brand, but not cross-platform with each other.
  • Xbox users can crossplay with PC users who have purchased the game from the Microsoft Store.
  • PC users playing on a Microsoft Store copy cannot crossplay with PC users on Steam or the Epic Games Store.
  • PC users on Steam or EGS can crossplay with each other as well as the Google Stadia.
  • Mac and Linux users can crossplay with PC users with a Steam copy, but not those with an EGS copy.
  • Android and iOS users can freely crossplay with each other, but not any other platform.
  • Nintendo Switch has zero cross-platform support.

If all that wasn't complicated enough, it seems that actually connecting the Stadia's supposed crossplay functionalities to PC "Ark" servers is a headache in and of itself. In Wild Card's defense, implementing cross-platform play for literally every major platform currently on the market is a tall order — let's just hope that "Ark 2" will have a simpler system if it ever comes to other consoles.