One week after release H1Z1 is going free-to-play

One week after release H1Z1 is going free-to-play

Just over a week after its release out of Steam Early Access, battle royale title H1Z1 is going free-to-play.

Developer Daybreak Game Company has announced this news in a press release about the upcoming H1Z1 Pro League esports tournament.

A game making the move from premium to free-to-play is not unheard of - many MMOs make this shift in the years following launch, especially when subscriptions and paid users dip.

This is arguably the case with H1Z1 - the game technically launched back in 2015, but was only finished earlier this year. This will also be a means for Daybreak to help bring users into its version of battle royale. The game's playerbase hasn't exactly grown, with SteamCharts reporting peak player figures of around 15,000 for the last 30 days. 

We spoke to general manager Anthony Castoro around the game's launch to see how the final months of development were. H1Z1 - originally called King of the Kill - was arguably the first battle royale title on the market, with one Brendan 'Playerunknown' Greene chipping in his insight in a consultant capacity during development.

Greene, of course, went on to make Playerunknown's Battlegrounds, which launched last March and has since dominated the battle royale conversation, alongside Epic's free-to-play Fortnite.

“The H1Z1 Pro League will bring together the best players in the world to compete in the adrenaline-filled spectacle that is H1Z1, and we can think of no other city that matches the energy and excitement of battle royale than Las Vegas,” said esports director Mark Tuttle said.

“With our announcement today that H1Z1 is now free to play, the stage is set for a robust and active community ready to tune into the H1PL every week.”

Daybreak has positioned H1Z1 Pro League as "the world's first professional battle royale esport league," with 15 teams on-board so far. Furthermore, the company has teamed up with Facebook for streaming rights.

The company insisted to PCGamesInsider that the Pro League is not a marketing event, unlike many other esports tournaments. 

PCGamesInsider Contributing Editor

Alex Calvin is a freelance journalist who writes about the business of games. He started out at UK trade paper MCV in 2013 and left as deputy editor over three years later. In June 2017, he joined Steel Media as the editor for new site In October 2019 he left this full-time position at the company but still contributes to the site on a daily basis. He has also written for, VGC, Games London, The Observer/Guardian and Esquire UK.