The end of the official ARK Server Evolved network has been set for September 29, 2023 at 13:00 PST / 16:00 EST. From this point on, the official servers will no longer be available, and new servers (from Nitrado) for the new ARK version called "ARK Survival Ascendent" or ASA will go online in October (provided Wildcard can meet the deadline for the major upgrade, but the official servers will be shut down in any case).
Due to the fact that large parts of the new ARK version ASA had to be developed on the new Unreal 5 Engine, initially only the standard map "The Island" will be available. In the future, all known official maps and DLC maps will be released, but with a delay of several months (for example, Scorched Earth has been announced for the end of December 2023, and Aberration & Ragnarok for the end of April 2024). As a special bonus, there will be a new creature on each map, which will be selected through a community vote. It should be emphasized that this only affects the official servers and all unofficial servers can still be supported and operated.
The original announcement from ARK from the end of March roughly reads as follows:
With the introduction of ASA at the end of August, we will be shutting down all official servers on Xbox, PlayStation, and PC for ARK: Survival Evolved. At this time, the final save data from the official ARK: Survival Evolved servers will be uploaded for players to host on their own servers or play in single player/non-dedicated mode, as well as some earlier snapshots. It will still be possible to play in single player, non-dedicated, player-dedicated, and unofficial servers. ARK: Survival Ascended will have its own fully supported official network for all platforms."
In July, Wildcard announced the delay to the end of October:
After careful consideration, we have decided to postpone the release of ARK: Survival Ascended to later this year and release the game in October 2023 for Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 5, and PC."
In the meantime, the first intermediate backups were exported in August (snapshots) and can be downloaded on the official website. Optionally, the save files can also be searched and found a bit better on the following page: https://arkutils.netlify.app/tools/officialdownload. A final backup should be available at the end of September.
After downloading, you have the following options to continue using the game progress from the respective official save games:
- In single player on your PC
- Continue running it on the official hoster Nitrado for a fee
- Install and operate it on your own server