H1Z1’s esports league is basically toast, ESPN reports

    
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oh nooooo

It looks like H1Z1’s Pro League isn’t gonna make it. ESPN is reporting this evening that the esports league teams received a letter from Jace Hall informing them that “the 2nd Split has been suspended indefinitely, and that a second league season will not be renewed or scheduled at this time” and that “teams have been immediately released from their League specific obligations.”

According to ESPN’s sources, Daybreak and its esports partners have struggled to pay promised team salaries, with some teams participating at a loss, others ending pay to the players, and still others withdrawing outright. Hall, however, says that the suspension has nothing to do with the money problems: “Nothing has changed in that area and as discussed previously with teams, the League is still working to pay teams and resolve that matter.”

The letter reportedly refers to a weakening playerbase in the game, which seems strange (it performed well on PS4 this past summer, even if PC is so-so), and it ought to concern not just H1Z1 players but players of Daybreak’s other MMOs as well. As gamers will recall, in September Daybreak announced that holding company NantWorks had invested in Daybreak and created a new subcompany to build out H1Z1 and EverQuest for mobile. NantWorks was also said to be working on a large esports arena and studio dubbed the LA Times Center next door to the LA Times headquarters. One might wonder what it’s aiming to do with that arena if its own flagship esports game is suffering.

Source: ESPN via MMORPG.com
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PurpleCopper
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PurpleCopper

from 86k to 2.6k MAU in little over a year. No surprise H1Z1 esports is dead.

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Ironwu

The H1Z1 franchise was the only ‘new’ project to survive the buyout from Sony. With the deletion of the H1Z1 MMO, this orphaned step-child will probably be next to go.

I don’t think the EQ & EQII communities should be worried at all, though. Those two games are valuable enough properties (as is the IP in general) to be kept going or sold off.

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Armsbend

eSports as a profit source is going to fail. It is obvious to me the teams, venues and in my estimation even the sponsors are heavily subsidized. You have a game like H1Z1 or Overwatch that have a very tiny window of opportunity – a few years before gamers move on to the next thing. There is no MOBA on the horizon to grab people long term like DOTA/LoL. I bet, because I am always right about this type of thing (and the most humble), the entire thing amounts to massive losses.

As a marketing tool they are insanely successful. If I were promoting eSports it would be from remote location, online for most events and a tiny live venue for the others. Cons preferable. Keeps costs at a minimum and simply use it to promote your game.

Overwatch – to me – had such an opportunity that Blizzard wasted. In their short sightedness – getting the best players (mostly Asian with no ties to the country much less the city) was a big mistake. Instead they should have had a tournament for the best players IN THAT CITY. You would have gotten free press. There could have been pride in a team. Teams could have actually lived at their real home instead of some weird gamer house. Who cares that they were the “best” in the world? Does that really matter? Of course it doesn’t. Having some Chinese kids represent Pittsburgh ensured that no one had any real care about Overwatch League. Perfectly mismanaged.

Xijit
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Xijit

And that is the killing proof that eSports are contrived, subsidised marketing: if the publishers were actually concerned with making a real sport out of it, they would be holding regional tournaments where everyday players compete (ala Quake-con … Befor it turned into Bethsoft’s personal dog and pony show) to see who is the best in town/state, followed by authentic championships between the regional winners.

Instead, all they care about is signing up known faces from twitch who have an established social media presence they can tap into.

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Armsbend

There is zero chance it wont be gone in a few years. That 20M sign up bonus will be wasted.

I think I, and most others, really could have gotten behind the idea of local kids being on local teams. Such a wasted opportunity.

Xijit
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Xijit

the only thing I want more to die in a fire is this “games as a service” bullshit.

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Armsbend

That is dying. EA and Activision are losing market share every quarter that passes.

I like esports I just think they are missing obvious opportunities. They should scrap overwatch league as is and get local kids. Rebrand it in the hometown papers. Send the asians back home.

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Danny Smith

just look at the history of suits trying to infiltrate/clean up the fighting game community. for years thirsty companies have been saying “its these weebs and ”’urban”’ gamers filling the FGC with ‘thuggery’ thats making it unfit for mainstream television events!” to which the fgc went “….THATS RIGHT.” but you still get them trying every year and nowadays you see pros say “if i see some dudes in suits at a tourney passing out cards its time to get out”.

April-Rain
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April-Rain

I maybe showing my age, I have never really got esports as I would rather play the game and watch other people play it, I like to watch twitch now and again but just to check out a game before I put money in.

The overwatch league makes me laugh with its crazy entry costs and all these so called world city based teams full of koreans, apparently London Spitfire won but it means nothing and is insulting when they really had nothing to do with London or the UK and what really is/ was a cheap marketing gimmick to try and gain some traction in the countries they were meant to be based.

Then Daybreak which makes me sad throwing money away on this false gravy train when they should have their heads down rebuilding the everquest franchise with maybe a 3rd game.

I can never see a future where esports rival or pull a crowd similar to real sports unless its in korea.

Xijit
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Xijit

I don’t get it either … Every part of it seems contrived as fuck just so video game publishers can get into selling advertising space at their events.

Ok, except for stuff like Street fighter competitions: that I get. I am not into fighting games, I am garbage at them, but I get the competitive scene they have.

But MOBAs and BRs … WTF?

(But at least those games don’t have stat gear … It is even worse when some horse shit gamble box game full of stat gear you can only get from gatcha boxes has got a “competitive” league)

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Armsbend

You had to have the insane buy ins. Activision knows esports is a loss leader so instead of paying for it themselves – they had others do it for FOMO.

Xijit
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Xijit

What they are doing is killing the old contracts so they can reopen the league with lower pay scales.

I am sure Daybreak was trying buy relevancy with high wage contracts, just to get teams to play the game, and now the new owners are not looking to pay that much since the game is doing good on PS4 (until PUBG hit next month).

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rafael12104

Just waiting for a Russian Oligarch to step in and claim it all as a tax shelter which conveniently was set up by Paul Manifort under mysterious circumstances. And, Donald Junior’s emails surface approving the measure!

Heh. It could happen. Seriously.

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Bruno Brito

I don’t doubt anything anymore.

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Sorenthaz

Can’t pretend to be surprised. H1Z1 isn’t really big enough and esports is more just an advertising stunt to try and help it get some popularity seeing as how the H1Z1 Invitationals in the past were decently successful for them.

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Wilhelm Arcturus

Yeah, there was already word out about problems on that front before the NantWorks news. Not sure how all this plays in together, mostly because I am not even sure what the actual relationship is between Daybreak and NantG Mobile.

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Greaterdivinity

Man, one day Daybreak will have some truly exciting, positive news : (

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Bruno Brito

It’s closure.

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Armsbend

On that day – and it is coming soon – do we have to pretend to be sad so our posts don’t get cleaned up?

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Bruno Brito

I know i won’t.

I’ll be sad for the employees who depend on this dumpsterfire of a company to live, but other than these specific souls, i want that building to burn.

Everquest deserves a better legacy.

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Sorenthaz

Probably not at this rate, it seems like their acquisition was essentially just giving them a comfortable home to eventually die out in. The innovators and creators seem to be mostly gone and it’s mostly just updates for Everquest 1/2 and then DCUO that really make any news outside of H1Z1 and then the once in a blue moon Planetside 2 update.