The H1PL might be RIP soon, unless DBG can come up with some $$$.
That's the word from VPEsports (hat-tip: Massively Opinionated), which is reporting that Daybreak Game Company's H1Z1 Pro League (H1PL) is facing financial difficulties, offering payment to attendees to boost numbers, and is being vague about its upcoming play and payment schedule.
Foreign players and staff have been having issues with getting their visas in time, which led to H1PL management not paying them or paying them "under the table," while others were forced to return to their home countries. There's the question of how many people are actually watching the events, which were being streamed on Facebook. VPEsports notes:
Routinely shown to have anywhere between 2,000 and 12,000 concurrent viewers, the chat on Facebook allegedly was largely dominated by bots attempting to obtain skin codes. All this seems to fly in the face of claims by Twin Galaxies and Caesars that the H1PL was earnestly viewed over 20 million times because the act of simply scrolling past the video in a Facebook feed registers as a view.
This is all clearly a big misunderstanding, because Daybreak would never lie to us.
VPEsports also reports that several teams haven't received promised payments from the league, which were supposed to be paid shortly before the beginning of the second split of the league. That was supposed to start in October, which was then amended to September and then delayed until early 2019, leaving the teams on the hook for paying their players' expenses.
The semi-explanation for all this comes from Jace Hall, who is not only the new lead on H1Z1 but also co-chair of Twin Galaxies, who told the teams that there was a force majeure at Daybreak Game Company that he was unable to discuss in detail due to a non-disclosure agreement.
Legally, a force majeure is an unforeseen event that prevents the fulfillment of a contract. While the obvious speculation will be that it's got something to do with Daybreak's potential ties to Columbus Nova and Russian oligarch Viktor Vekselberg -- which totally shouldn't be an issue if the company's always been owned by Jason Epstein! -- the fact that Daybreak is unable to pay its bills, for any reason, should be a major concern.
Another possibility (suggested to me by my editor after this article went live) is that Daybreak is in the process of being purchased by another entity, which could lead to some form of payment complications until the deal is completed. That's obviously as speculative as any of the other reasons presented here, but we thought we would bring it up as a less-nefarious option.
VPEsports has also obtained a copy of the League Participation Agreement, which states that there is a specific clause addressing force majeure events and that their nature must be disclosed to the teams. So once again we appear to have the situation of Daybreak withholding information that would clear up the air quickly for their own reasons.
In the grand scheme of things, H1Z1 continues to decline, at least on Steam, with average concurrency now sitting at less than half of what it was before the free-to-play switch. Daybreak's marketing will probably counter that by saying the game is doing amazingly well on PlayStation 4, but at this point, we'll be waiting for on-the-record, verifiable facts before we start trusting what Daybreak says in generic press releases.
About the Author
Jason Winter is a veteran gaming journalist, he brings a wide range of experience to MMOBomb, including two years with Beckett Media where he served as the editor of the leading gaming magazine Massive Online Gamer. He has also written professionally for several gaming websites.
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