In summary, the following points are covered:
- Cooperation agreement between Snail Games USA Inc. and Marbis GmbH on July 26, 2023.
- Marbis receives the exclusive right to host and operate the games ARK SE, Ark SA, and Ark II.
- Marbis has the right to rent out private and community servers.
- Marbis will provide funding to the company up to a principal amount of $4,046,932.
- Marbis will provide up to $3,000,000 in cash to the company upon receiving a written request.
From the document, it can be inferred that private or community servers for ARK must be hosted exclusively by Marbis or authorized third parties.
The question of whether we can continue to operate our own "private/community servers" (with our own hardware) for ARK without commercial interests has been answered with "Yes" (see update from August 17, 2023).
This could be very problematic for companies like G-Portal or smaller hosting providers such as arkservers.io. They would not be able to operate a business model based on hosting ARK servers without the consent of Nitrado (Marbis GmbH). It remains to be seen under what conditions (costs?) Nitrado will allow this.
This likely means that Nitrado will obtain a monopoly on renting game servers for ARK Survival Evolved. At least, Nitrado could hinder competition or determine prices through licensing agreements.
However, these are currently only speculations and interpretations. Snail Games, the owner of Studio Wildcard and holder of all rights to ARK, has so far only published this as an ad hoc announcement for its shareholders. Therefore, it is not yet finally clarified what consequences this will have for the hosting of ARK servers.
Update from August 15, 2023 / 9:00 PM
Nitrado has published a post on their website about this partnership. Unfortunately, or understandably from Nitrado's perspective, only the advantages of the partnership are listed here, such as cross-platform mods (Overflow).
Update August 16, 2023
Nitrado has confirmed on Twitter that private servers can still be operated, so no problem for us 😜
Update August 17, 2023
Nitrado's commercial exclusivity for community servers does not prevent the monetization of your self-hosted or even rented server, such as, but not limited to, donations, "VIP" roles, reserved slots, items, and anything else allowed in the Terms and Conditions and End User License Agreement of ARK: Survival Ascended.