If your player base is tanking and you've tried everything else under the sun to boost numbers, what do you do? Go free-to-play, of course. This is the route Daybreak has taken with its title H1Z1, dropping the price from $US19.99 (~$26) to zilch.
Daybreak outlined the details of the move in a new post on the game's Steam community hub:
“We are very excited to announce that H1Z1 will be free to play starting today. 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." ... Anthony Castoro, H1Z1 General Manager
Unsurprisingly, the majority of comments are some variation of the phrase "Can I get a refund?". While none are forthcoming, the post does state that anyone who "recently" purchased the game can get their money back "in accordance with [Steam's] refund policy".
Streaming a game you're working can be an awesome form of community outreach. Unfortunately, one H1Z1 developer leapt into the game with some of their special powers still on.
Not that for long-time players are being entirely neglected; their reward a "H1Z1 Appreciation Pack" containing the following:
- Gasrunner Hoodie
- Bloom Survivor T-Shirt
- Splinter Camo ARV
- 10 Victory Crates
- 10,000 Skulls
It's hard to say whether the move to free-to-play will be enough to save H1Z1. According to SteamCharts, the game did see a spike of players post-announcement, going from sub-1000 to over 20,000, but that's already started to drop off.
It's also nothing compared to the peak of 150,000 back in July 2017 — looks like it'll take more than going completely free to get back to those numbers.