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H1Z1's Player Base is Dying, Down 78% from July, and Not Even a Free Week on Steam is Saving It

After a Strong Start in 2017, the Future is Looking Grim for the Former King of the Battle Royale Genre

December 22, 2017 by

2017 started out as a great year for H1Z1. After splitting into two different games back in 2016, H1Z1: King of the Kill’s player base spiked in popularity, leaving its former competition DayZ in the dust.

But before the summer started, GitHyp reported that H1Z1 had some new competition. The original creator of the Battle Royale genre, Brendan Greene (aka PlayerUnknown), left the H1Z1 team to bring his own new game to Steam. And in its first week of early access, PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds debuted at #3 on Steam, stealing the top spot from H1Z1 for a few hours.

At the time, H1Z1 was still the king holding the #3 position for more hours each day and with much higher player count peaks than PUBG. Despite the intense competition, H1Z1’s battle royale standalone continued to grow, hitting a new all-time peak of 150k concurrent players and averaging 87k players per hour in July.

H1Z1 (formerly H1Z1: King of the Kill) Recent Data Tracked on Steam via GitHyp

But as the two games continued to battle for players in different time zones, the top streamers on Twitch all started switching from H1Z1 to PUBG and bringing their huge viewer fan bases with them.

As many now know, PUBG exploded in popularity over the course of the summer. And PUBG didn’t just beat H1Z1, it beat everyone, becoming the most played game ever on Steam with just shy of 3 million concurrent players.

With PUBG’s unprecedented growth, H1Z1: King of the Kill was in trouble. After the summer ended, KotK saw its player base start to take a significant dive, so the developers at Daybreak changed the name back to just “H1Z1” on Steam. But this time, the name change didn’t help. Now, just 4 months later, H1Z1 has seen its player counts drop by a shocking 78%.

H1Z1‘s Average Players per Hour on Steam via GitHyp

Over this past week, the developers have been holding a free promotion for the game in a desperate attempt to stop the hemorrhaging of players. A smart move, which games like Payday 2Battlerite, and Rainbow Six: Siege have all successfully used in the past year to turn around their declining player bases.

Sadly, going f2p doesn’t always work — as we’ve also seen the past year with Battleborn and Evolve. And in H1Z1‘s case, it might be too little too late as PUBG leaves early access. Even after completely removing the barrier to entry, H1Z1 is still averaging under 20k players per hour in December – which is down from 21k players this same time last December.

With how much money Daybreak has made with H1Z1, it’s unlikely that the game will be going the way of other failed survival games any time soon. But as H1Z1 players continue to abandon ship and the market becomes over-saturated with PUBG clones, things are looking pretty grim in 2018 for the former king of the battle royale genre.

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