H1Z1 Going Free to Play on Steam, "Appreciation Pack" Rewarded for Buyers

H1Z1 is going free-to-play as it launches official esports league

H1Z1, which which left Early Access just over a week ago and added a cars-only battle royale mode called Auto Royale has made another sharp turn in its already twisty-turny development path. According to Steam Spy, H1Z1's concurrent player base is now under 10,000, a far cry from the millions of players the other two games attract on a daily basis.

The move comes as no surprise as, like most "originals", the game has been surpassed in popularity and player count by other battle royale titles PUBG and Fortnite.

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Coupled with an ever shrinking playerbase and updates fans didn't like, H1Z1 fell out of favor in terms of battle royale games. H1Z1 was released to early access back in 2015 while the development was split to start work on the battle royale game in 2016 so it's possible fans got exhausted of waiting and went on to different things.

Those who purchased H1Z1 for $19.99 in the week since its formal launch on February 28 may be upset to find that the game is now free. There are a couple of different outcomes, depending on when you bought it. Only those who purchased within the past 14 days and haven't played the game for more than two hours will get a refund. However, it appears as if developer Daybreak is unsatisfied with the number of new adopters.

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H1Z1 will enter the eSports scene with the H1Z1 Pro League (H1PL), which will be kicking off its first season on April 21st, 2018 in Las Vegas, Nevada.

The bundle features the Gasrunner Hoodie, Bloom Survivor t-shirt, Splinter Camo ARV, 10 Victory Crates, and 10,000 Skulls. There are some big eSports names among those 15 teams, including Cloud9, Tempo Storm, Team SoloMid, and Alliance, so Daybreak certainly has the buy-in from big eSports organizations. You'll be able to watch the pro league beginning on April 21 over on Facebook, which is the exclusive streaming partner for at least this first season (sorry Twitch). Plus, Caesars Entertainment will be the official venue and entertainment partner.

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All of this sounds great, but the question is whether or not it's enough to revitalize interest in the game.

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