Esports are about to do the dinosaur.
Developer Studio Wildcard revealed Ark: Survival of the Fittest, a spinoff based on its online game Ark: Survival Evolved, and it’s out today via Steam (with a console release date to be determined). It’s calling Survival of the Fittest a multiplayer online survival arena, an obvious play on the multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) genre that includes mega hits like League of Legends, which makes $1 billion a year with in-game purchases. Survival of the Fittest will also be a free-to-play title that focuses on competition, hoping to become a part of the blossoming esports market that could reach $1.1 billion in spending by 2019.
“Originally, Survival of the Fittest was a ‘total conversion’ mod within the open-world survival adventure Ark: Survival Evolved,” a press release from Studio Wildcard noted. “The game rapidly grew in popularity amongst those wanting a competitive ‘Battle Royale/Last Man Standing’ experience. This standalone game brings all the features of the mod, with upgrades, and newly integrates dedicated esports ranking, matchmaking, reward, and tournament features to make it readily accessible to all players.”
Studio Wildcard will also give out cash prizes to the 10 top players in all four of Survival of the Fittest’s game modes every month, with the No. 1 players earning $3,500.
Ark: Survival Evolved is still in Early Access via Steam and Xbox One, which means you can purchase and play the game before it’s technically finished. Studio Wildcard noted that Survival Evolved is Steam’s most popular Early Access game.