Ark: Survival Evolved

How much would you pay for a Steam games award? No, I mean how much would you pay in the currency of sheep? Oddly enough, the team behind Ark: Survival Evolved tried to do exactly that, resulting in a truly odd piece of gaming history being created this holiday season.

As we recently reported, Steam is gearing up to pass out their 2016 awards. A couple of things set them apart from the pack, though, including the fact that their awards are voted on by the fans, and they happen to sport very bizarre category names. One such category was "Best use of a farm animal," which Ark just so happened to be nominated for.

To celebrate, the team at Studio Wildcard revealed a brand new in-game animal, the Ovis Aries, which looks a whole lot like a massive sheep. The problem came when they explained how players could add the wooly creature to their in-game herd of beasts. According to Polygon, Wildcard put up a post on Dec. 26 explaining that the Ovis Aries would be made available to all players in the next major Ark update if, and only if, they won their Steam award. They billed it as showing support for the game by heading to the voting page and casting their vote. What they apparently didn't count on was the reaction fans would have to what many are calling a flat-out bribe.

It's clear from the Steam game award categories that they are taking a more lighthearted approach to annual rankings, which probably had something to do with Wildcard's little "promotion." The problem is that, lighthearted or no, it's not the brightest idea to tell folks who are playing your game to go and vote for it to win an award or, otherwise, they don't get some in-game content.

The internet responded accordingly and Wildcard responded just as quickly, removing the original post and replacing it with another that explains that, no matter what happens, the Ovis Aries will be included in the next big Ark update, across all platforms, though no date has yet been set. The update also points out that the team realized they did not "go about this the greatest way," which is something of an understatement.

We know full well how tricky a job PR and marketing can be, which is why moves like this tend to baffle us from time to time. Not one person working with or for Studio Wildcard raised their hand and said, "Isn't this kind of a bad idea, being a bribe and all?" Either way, it looks like they meant it to be a fun little promotion and it went south on them with a quickness.

As for folks playing Ark, the good news is that you'll soon have sheep added to the game without needing to venture into a moral gray zone.

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