H1Z1 Finally Rolls Out of Steam Early Access
Just yesterday, I was talking with another staffer here about the quiet abuses of Early Access, and the way games linger there for much longer than initially intended. It’s fitting, then, that I am covering H1Z1 heading out of Early Access after two years, losing 91% of its player base in the last half of 2017 to predictable attrition. Though H1Z1‘s concurrent player count at its height certainly put it on a list of the best multiplayer games by player count, two years of Early Access is a long time for even the best games to hold onto players.
H1Z1 could see its missing fans return with the official launch of the completed game, with three extra reasons on top of the release itself. The first of these is Auto Royale, a new mode that pits teams against one another in combat-ready vehicles on maps filled with environmental hazards. The next is a change to the ranking system that weighs total kills against consistently placing well in matches. This change reflects the developers’ feelings that the best players are those who can place well while still netting a high kill count. Those players will be rewarded for winning a match with the introduction of Victory Crates, which contain unique items that can be scrapped, but not traded or sold on the market. The upcoming launch of professional competitions in the H1Z1 League also bodes well for bringing players back to the fray.
H1Z1 may be a talking point for Steam over the course of 2018. Other developers are sure to keep a close eye on what happens with player counts and new sales through the remainder of this quarter. If one of the most popular games on Steam cannot pull off a long stint in development with their fanbase intact, it might be time for Valve to rethink Early Access, and for developers to reconsider allowing so much early content availability to their games. If they pull it off, though? That would be one hell of a coup against the titles that followed its lead in the Battle Royale subgenre.
H1Z1 is now available on Steam for $19.99.