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Just One Week After Leaving Early Access, H1Z1 Goes Free-To-Play

Huh?

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This is awkward. H1Z1, the game that PlayerUnknown was first worked on to bring the battle royale mode before leaving to make his own take that is now PUBG, was just out of Early Access, with a new variant mode called Auto Royale released in beta. That was one week ago.

Now it’s free-to-play.

If you have not seen the Steam numbers for the game, it’s alarming. H1Z1 has been in decline thanks to stiff competition by PUBG and the free-to-play Fortnite Battle Royale. So making it free-to-play is a reasonable decision, especially since it will launch its own esports league, H1Z1 Pro League, in April 21st.

“Not only does this decision allow us to share our version of Battle Royale and Auto Royale with even more players, but it signifies the next step in making H1Z1 a must-watch esport,” said Anthony Castoro, H1Z1 General Manager.

The timing is rather awkward however, since it is just a week after leaving Early Access. Thankfully, refunds can be made if you happen to just purchase the game recently- just go through Steam’s usual refund process. Players who bought in during Early Access will get an appreciation pack, and the game will now run in the free-to-play with micro-transactions model.

Will this help H1Z1’s player numbers climb back? Hopefully so. But with some strong competition H1Z1 might need to address fundamental issues than just make the game more accessible if it truly wants to survive in the battle royale space for long.