Hear me out. My PC is really old and playing ARK has always been a compromise between PvP graphics and 10 fps. Video cards have been expensive since the Tech Bros invented Crypto, so I needed a solution to still be able to provide good, if not even better ARK content for YouTube and Twitch.
Stadia? More like Stadi, nah!
I tried Stadia but don’t get me even started on that. It was a mess. The graphics looked worse than ARK mobile and the performance was worse than on my old old GTX 660. But that story is over anyway since Stadia announced to close their service for good.
The next station then was Nvidia GeForce Now and I first briefly tried the free—one hour playtime—version a few months ago when my PC cooler broke, and I couldn’t start a game without getting a Blue screen. It took the heavy load of my Computer, and I was able to reset my official bases without having them decay. Phew.
Using Nvidia GeForce Now
When Fjordur got released I could not play ARK any more with my normal setup. I had 5-10 fps even with very low graphics. So what to do? I decided to try out Nvidia GeForce again and since then I have been able to test it for the past 4 months. There has also been a major update to Nvidia GeForce Now that eliminated my biggest critique point. But let’s talk business.
I am using the RTX3080 plan and that for two reasons – No waiting time when logging in and 8 hour sessions. Especially when streaming, having to disconnect and reconnect my sessions too often can be quite annoying. But yes. It is expensive.
GeForce Now RTX3080 and ARK Survival Evolved
- Save your own graphic settings or go with the suggested ones (but for the love of god, disable motion blur).
- Stunning graphics, flawless performance
- A lot of games aside from ARK Survival Evolved are supported
- It saves your login data, so you just start the game (added with the latest patch)
- Cross-platform – Play the full version of ARK—even modded—on your phone if you want.
- most of the time it does not feel like a cloud or streamed game
- 8 hours (and even 6 in the lower price tier) are plenty to play
- The connection is sometimes a little bit wonky, you will see this when your image goes pixelated.
- Sometimes GeForce Now switches the keyboard from DE to EN and back.
- You will have to reinstall ALL your mods every time you log in – can take a while.
- You will be logged out when you idle for a short time—Support suggests blocking a key, so the game detects button keys.
- Nvidia Ansel is not available
- You have no access to dino export files
- It can take a day for them to update games—devastating for content creators
I am overall happy but have a few things to complain about
I use GeForce Now mainly for recording and streaming because I want to have the best video quality here. For my day-to-day play I usually just logged in via Steam on my PC because I do idle A LOT when breeding in ARK or when waiting for imprints. Having to think about wiggling my mouse once in a while got quite annoying.
I am missing export files for using ARK Smart Breeding. These are not available because you don’t have access to the game files / game folders and I would also love to use Nvidia Ansel because that’s how I do my screenshots for Thumbnails typically.
My biggest point to critique is, that it sometimes can take half a day to a day for them to update a game when a patch is out or new game content is released. As a content creator I then have to switch back to my lower performance solution because I want to stream and record day 1 of release in the best case. If they can work on the speed of those updates, I would be super happy.
Overall I can say that while there is room for improvement I am happy with Nvidia GeForce Now. If I need to continue the 3080 plan or can downgrade, I will have to consider in the future. My subscription still runs for the rest of the year, and I am saving up to send my old PC into retirement in favour for a newer model.
As you can see, not everything is happy sunshine and I am pretty sure GeForce Now has a lot of possibilities to improve, the latest update made me really happy already and fixed a lot of things I didn’t like and that made me use it less.
If you want to play ARK with prettier graphics and a whole new PC is not an option, then GeForce Now is a solid solution. Even the free tier is a good solution if you don’t mind waiting for accessing a server in the queue.
While it’s not ideal for content creators due to its update timers, you can use it perfectly fine for streaming and recording videos for YouTube.