Ark: Survival Evolved developers Studio Wildcard are being accused of “bribing” players of their game to vote for it in the Steam Awards, with the studio saying that they will release new content only if the game wins out in their chosen category.
In a post on the game’s community page, Studio Wildcard’s lead community manager Jat Karunakaran requested that players vote for the game in a Steam Awards category in order for the developer to release a new animal in the game’s next update. In the since-deleted post, which has been archived here, Karunakaran asked fans to vote for Ark in the ‘Best Use Of A Farm Animal’ award, writing: “Let’s face it, Ark does have the raddest animals and what better way to thank them for all farming & fighting they do than by honouring them with the “Best Use Of A Farm Animal” Award!”
Karunakaran then added that, if players voted for the game in the category and it won the award, they would be given a reward in the form of an Ovis Sheep in Ark‘s next major update. Wildcard was promptly accused of bribery by the game’s players, along with holding content to ransom in exchange for votes in an awards category that wasn’t even applicable to the game.
While the Steam Awards aren’t intended to be taken seriously, the extra publicity afforded to developers by way of winning in one of its categories is valuable. Though the inclusion of a sheep wouldn’t exactly be a game-breaking omission if the developers decided to not go ahead with implementing it, that they intended to only include it in the game if they won the Steam Award was touted as an example of them trying to game the system, with it rubbing many up the wrong way in the process.
But this isn’t the first time that Studio Wildcard has rubbed its players up the wrong way. Earlier this year, the developer revealed that it would be releasing paid DLC for Ark, which is an early access game. This led to those who had already paid for it questioning why this DLC was not going to be included as a free update, considering that the entire purpose of the early access business model is for players to fund development of a game prior to its official launch.
Wildcard put up a new post after attracting criticism for their apparent bribery, removing the mention of releasing the sheep as a reward solely reserved for voters. The updated post continues to encourage players to vote for Ark in the Steam Awards, but now states that “regardless of whether Ark wins a Steam Award or not, Ovis will be making its debut in the next major Ark version update.”