Wondering if you can get the popular dinosaur survival game Ark: Survival Evolved for free and keep it forever? I‘ve got you covered.
In this detailed guide, I‘ll explain how you can grab Ark for free during limited-time promotions across different platforms, and once you claim it, you get to keep it permanently!
I‘ll also provide insightful analysis on what you get with the free version, whether it‘s worth playing in 2023, and tips to grab it cheap if you missed the free offers. So let‘s get started!
When and how you could have got Ark for free in the past
Ark has been available for free during limited time promotions across different platforms over the years:
|Epic Games Store||Free weekly games in June 2020, April 2021 and Sept 2021|
|Steam||Free to claim between June 9 – 19, 2022|
|PlayStation Plus||Free PS Plus monthly game in July 2020|
|Microsoft Store||Free Play Days in 2020 and 2021|
As you can see, Ark has been given away for free several times before. Did you happen to claim it during any of these promotions?
If yes, then congratulations, you own the full base version of Ark permanently! Keep reading to understand what you get with it.
What‘s included for free – Base game with 100s of hours of content
When claimed during these free events, you get the 100% complete base version of Ark, not a trial or demo.
This means full access to hundreds of hours of content across its procedurally generated maps in singeplayer, co-op or multiplayer:
- 30+ dinosaurs and creatures to hunt, tame and breed
- Four diverse gameplay modes – PvP, PvE, Single & Co-op
- Endless crafting and building possibilities
- Dozens of caves, bosses and artifacts to discover
- Character progression with levels and skill trees
- Active modding community with thousands of mods
So as you can see, you get the complete core Ark experience even if you grab it for free. No artificial limitations or trial restrictions.
The only thing you miss out on are the paid DLC expansions. But you can always grab those later if you want to extend your journey.
Will you lose access if you miss the promotion? Happily, no!
A common misconception is that you only have access during the promotion period. But that‘s not true.
Once you claim the game during the free offer window, Ark is yours to keep forever!
The storefront may stop advertising it as free post-promotion. But your game access does not suddenly vanish after a few days. You can return and enjoy Ark years later if you want.
So remember, it‘s a permanent addition to your library, not a limited-time trial. Make sure to grab it next time for endless dinosaur survival action!
Valuable analysis – Does the free version have any limitations?
I examined this closely and found that the free version does not have any artificial limitations or trial restrictions generally seen in demos.
You get the full base game experience, minus the DLC expansions. Here are all the features accessible at no cost:
- All maps, modes and character options
- Full crafting and building system
- Every creature and item in the base game
- Mod support through Steam Workshop
- Same frequent updates as paid version
- Access to both PvE and PvP multiplayer servers
- No time limits or locked progression
The only disadvantages compared to the paid version are:
- No access to paid Scorched Earth, Aberration, etc DLC maps and content
- Cannot host your own private dedicated servers
- Reduced mod support on Epic Games version
But this does not hamper enjoyment of the base game. You still get endless gameplay even without paying!
Will Ark go free again? Analysis of likelihood in 2023
It‘s hard to predict exactly when Ark will be free again. But based on past trends, here is an analysis of the probability in 2023:
Steam Summer Sale (June/July): Ark has gone free during both summer and winter sales before. With the summer sale coming up, chances seem fairly high of a promotion. 70% likelihood
Epic Mega Sale (June): Epic gave away Ark multiple times in 2020 and 2021. It‘s ripe for a return during their mega sale this summer. 80% likelihood
Seasonal giveaways: Ark turns 6 years old in June 2023. The devs may celebrate with giveaways. 60% likelihood
Around DLC launches: Previous DLC launches were accompanied by base game promotions. If they have a big expansion arriving, this could repeat. 40% likelihood
Free weekends: These happen often, most recently in December 2022. Useful to try the game for free before buying. 90% likelihood of more this year.
So in summary, I would keep an eye out especially during the Steam and Epic summer sales for your next chance to grab Ark completely free!
Should you play Ark in 2023 if you get it for free? My verdict
Even though it originally released in 2017, Ark still holds tremendous value in 2023 if you manage to get it for free.
Here is my analysis of why Ark is absolutely still worth playing this year:
- The core gameplay loop still holds up extremely well
- Visuals are dated but system requirements are reasonable
- Has active multiplayer servers and modding community
- Developers still release free content updates
- Highly positive 92% user reviews on Steam
- Offers great value compared to newer $60 games
- Experiencing the dinosaurs and scifi theme is unique
- One of the most popular survival games with years of community knowledge
Of course, it has its fair share of jank and bugs even today. But for a free game, there are hundreds of hours of adventures and memorable experiences waiting. Unlocking creatures, crafting your base and waging epic PvP wars never gets old!
So I wholeheartedly recommend giving Ark a shot in 2023 if you can grab it for zero money during a promotion. Download, survive and enjoy!
How can you buy Ark cheaply if you missed the free offers?
If you don‘t manage to grab Ark the next time it is free, don‘t worry! Here are 5 tips to pick it up at huge discounts:
Steam sales: Look out for Ark to be 50-90% off during seasonal sales in Summer (June/July) and Winter (December)
Retail disc copies: Physical copies on Amazon and BestBuy often get heavily discounted
Epic Mega Sale: Likely to be 50-75% off during their summer sale in June
CD Key sites: Sites like Instant Gaming have low prices on Ark keys year-round
Base game first: Buy just the base game cheaply first, and get expansions later on sale
The best times to purchase are the big seasonal sales on Steam, Epic Games Store and other retailers when prices can drop as low as $10-15 for the base version.
Plus you can further reduce cost by getting just the base game for now and grabbing the Season Pass on discount later. This allows you to cheaply enjoy hundreds of hours of dinosaur action!
Can your PC run Ark? Recommended 2023 system requirements
Ark has always been quite demanding, so many gamers wonder if it will run smoothly on their system.
Here are the recommended PC specs I would target for a smooth 60 FPS experience at 1080p resolution in 2023:
- Processor: Intel Core i5-10400 / Ryzen 5 3600 or better
- RAM: 16GB DDR4
- Graphics Card: Nvidia RTX 3060 Ti / AMD Radeon RX 6700 XT
- Storage: SSD with 60GB free space
With these specs, you can set graphics to High-Epic and enjoy Ark with smooth frame rates and quick loading.
For reference, Ark‘s official minimum specs call for an older Core i5-2400 with GTX 670 2GB. But realistically, I‘d aim higher than that for a good experience, especially for modded gameplay.
On the extreme end, enthusiasts enjoy Ark on 4K displays and max settings using RTX 3080 Ti builds. But that‘s overkill unless you have money to splurge!
Final summary – Grab this dinosaur survival game when it‘s next free!
To summarize this detailed guide:
Ark goes completely free for keeps during limited-time promotions
Once claimed, it‘s yours permanently – not a trial or demo
You get the full base game with hundreds of hours of content
High chance it may be free again in 2023 on Steam or Epic
Still absolutely worth playing this year, especially for free
Realistically aim for GTX 3060 Ti / RX 6700 XT level PC for smooth performance
So keep an eye out for the next time Ark goes free! It will provide you endless hours of crafting, survival and dinosaur action at zero cost.
Claim it fast before the promotion expires, and the epic adventures can begin! I hope this guide helps you grab this gem permanently and have blast surviving in the jurassic world.
Let me know in the comments if you have any other questions! Happy to help fellow survivors out.