The H1Z1 Pro League is shutting down as reported by ESPN.
The H1z1 Pro League is (much as you'd expect) a professional e-sports league centered on Daybreak Game Company's battle royale title H1Z1. The league kicked things off in April of this year, but it has been troubled by technical difficulties and issues with paying out contractually-obligated stipends.
Each of the teams in the H1Z1 Pro League was to receive a stipend of $400,000 per year for each of the 15 teams. The stipend would be paid in two portions prior to the first and second splits of the league. $125,000 of each payment was intended for player salaries while the remaining $75,000 was meant for content production and other expenses.
While there appears to have been no problem with the first split payment, the second split payment is another story. Payment had been scheduled to have been made no later than July 28, 2018, but multiple teams had not yet received the payment. Several esports organizations (including heavy-hitters like Cloud9 and Team SoloMid) have been paying their H1Z1 players out of pocket since then, essentially at a loss. Teams without the backing of a multi-game e-sports organization have had to stop paying their players' salaries.
The league's closure is the result of numerous factors. To start, the popularity of the game itself has been on the decline and has remained relatively stagnant in recent months. Secondly, the H1Z1 Pro League had signed an exclusive streaming agreement with Facebook of all places - not exactly the place most gamers think to look for an e-sports stream. The first day of competition saw only 7,900 concurrent viewers on its inaugural Facebook stream.
Twin Galaxies co-chairman Jace Hall has stated that the second split stipend payment is a separate issue from the closure of the league. The companies backing the H1Z1 Pro League are working to get the teams what is owed to them. All of the league's teams have been released from any of their obligations to the overarching esports organization.
H1z1 had previously been split into two distinct titles, one of which is the battle royale game played in the H1z1 Pro League. Just Survive - the other half of the split - closed its doors in October.
Here's hoping the teams will eventually get the remainder of their salaries so this experience isn't a total wash. If you're interested in checking out the game, you can play it for free on Steam for the PC and on the PlayStation 4 via the PlayStation Store.
What do you think of the H1Z1 Pro League shutting down? What could they have done differently to ensure success? Let us know in the comments below!