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Is DayZ Free on Steam in 2023?

Hey friend! If you‘re hoping to survive the zombie apocalypse in DayZ, you might be wondering – can you play this popular open world game for free on Steam?

The short answer is: sort of, but not directly right now. Let me explain the various ways to play DayZ without paying full price. I‘ll also give you an overview of what this gritty survival game offers and why it has attracted over 4 million players.

By the end, you‘ll know exactly how to experience DayZ either free or at least cheaper than normal. Time to gear up and get ready to explore Chernarus!

What is DayZ and How Did It Get Started?

Back in 2013, an ambitious modder named Dean Hall adapted the intense military simulator game ARMA 2 into a new concept – an open world zombie apocalypse survival game. This mod was called DayZ and it quickly gained a huge following.

Fans loved the challenge of scavenging weapons and vital supplies while avoiding deadly zombies and dangerous other players. The huge 225 km^2 map provided endless tense exploration.

Given the rising popularity, Bohemia Interactive brought Hall on board to develop DayZ as a standalone PC game on Steam Early Access. It sold over 3 million copies in under a year – insane for an unfinished game!

Since then, DayZ has been ported to Xbox One and PlayStation 4. Major content updates add new weapons, vehicles, diseases and survival mechanics. And the PC version remains under active development, now for over 9 years and counting!

Despite bugs and a rocky development road, DayZ still provides a survival experience like no other game. The open world emergent gameplay creates unforgettable player stories.

When and How Did DayZ Become Free on Steam?

Originally, DayZ cost $35 to buy during its Steam Early Access phase. But in May 2020, Bohemia Interactive surprised fans by making DayZ completely free to download and play for a limited time.

Their announcement stated:

“Bohemia Interactive is happy to announce that DayZ will be free on Steam for a limited time from today through 10 AM PST on May 25th, 2020. We hope those who haven‘t tried DayZ will take this opportunity to see what a truly unique game it is.”

This free promotion lasted for several days, letting interested gamers check out DayZ at no cost.

Unfortunately, this 100% free period ended on May 25, 2020. DayZ went back to being a paid game on Steam after that.

Is DayZ Still Free Now in 2023?

At the moment, there is no way to permanently add DayZ on Steam to your library for free. The base game now costs $44.99 USD.

However, you can play DayZ without paying anything upfront by:

Trying occasional Free Weekends – Every few months, DayZ has free weekends where anyone can join the action. Just wishlist DayZ on Steam and wait for the next free weekend notification.

Sharing with a friend – If someone you know bought DayZ on Steam, they can share the game with you using Steam‘s family sharing feature. You can access their library when they aren‘t playing.

Using Xbox Game Pass – DayZ is included with an Xbox Game Pass for PC subscription. For $10/month you get access to hundreds of games.

So don‘t lose hope! With some patience, you can still survive the zombie hordes without spending a cent.

How Much Does DayZ Cost on Steam Sales?

The full retail price for DayZ on Steam is $44.99. But thankfully, Steam‘s seasonal sales let you grab this survival game at a discounted price:

  • Spring Sale – Typically around 40% off ($26.99)
  • Summer Sale – As much as 60% off ($18.00)
  • Autumn Sale – Around 40% off again ($26.99)
  • Winter Sale – Up to 60% off ($18.00)

If you catch the right Steam sale, you can buy DayZ for as little as $18! That‘s a solid deal.

The Livonia DLC map costs $12.99 normally but also goes on sale.

So while DayZ isn‘t permanently free, watching for Steam sales lets you pick it up for much cheaper. Definitely set a price alert and grab it when the next sale hits!

DayZ System Requirements for PC

Before we go any further, let‘s quickly check if your PC has the minimum requirements to handle DayZ:

  • OS: Windows 10 64-bit
  • CPU: Intel Core i5-4460 / AMD FX-8320
  • RAM: 8GB
  • GPU: Nvidia GeForce GTX 960 2GB / AMD Radeon R9 280
  • Storage: 25 GB free space

You‘ll also need an internet connection for Steam. The total install size is around 15 GB.

For 1080p gameplay at 60fps, DayZ recommends:

  • CPU: Intel Core i5-6600K / AMD Ryzen 5 1600X
  • RAM: 12GB
  • GPU: Nvidia GTX 1060 / AMD Radeon RX 580

As long as your PC meets those specs, you‘ll be surviving the apocalypse in no time.

Is Downloading DayZ from Unauthorized Sites Safe?

I hate to say it, but any website offering a free full game download of DayZ is 100% illegal. These cracked copies come with huge risks:

  • Dangerous viruses or malware
  • Bans on your Steam account
  • No ability to play multiplayer
  • Missing all official patches and content updates

Please avoid sites like SteamUnlocked or any place offering free Steam keys. Stick to legit copies from Steam or you‘ll regret it!

Overview of DayZ Gameplay and Features

Alright, you have DayZ installed and ready to dive in. What exactly does this gritty survival game offer in terms of gameplay?

The basic gameplay loop goes like this:

  • Spawn in on the massive 225 km^2 Chernarus map, initially only with a flashlight.
  • Scavenge nearby buildings for food, water, weapons and other vital supplies.
  • Craft necessary items like a knife, fire starters, or fishing rod when possible.
  • Treat illnesses like infections, cholera and food poisoning before they kill you.
  • Navigate to new areas, looting higher tier weapons and gear.
  • Fortify a shelter if you want to store loot long term.
  • Explore wrecked vehicles, helicopter crash sites, castles and more.
  • Decide to avoid, assist or attack other players you encounter.
  • Ultimately try to survive as long as possible!

This loop creates super tense gameplay with real consequences. Starvation, dehydration, sickness and zombies pose constant threats. You feel a spike of fear whenever you see another armed survivor, not knowing their intentions.

The advanced health system also adds to the realism. You have to monitor your temperature, blood levels, calories and more. Every cut or fracture needs disinfecting and bandaging. It‘s more involved than most survival games.

While you can play solo, DayZ gets extremely tense when playing with friends or random squads. The unpredictable player encounters generate real adrenaline. You‘ll have stories of betrayal, heroism, brutal survival and more.

With scarce loot and permadeath, even small victories feel meaningful. Surviving for a few hours is an achievement when everyone wants you dead!

How Does DayZ Compare to Other Survival Games?

As the game that launched the survival genre, how does DayZ stack up to more modern options? Let‘s compare:

Rust – Also very hardcore but focused more on base building and PvP gunplay. More RPG skills and progression.

7 Days to Die – Emphasizes creative base building and co-op PvE against zombie hordes.

SCUM – Extremely advanced health/metabolism systems but not as refined overall.

The Forest – Mainly story-driven co-op experience focused on exploring and some horror elements.

State of Decay – More action-focused zombie survival in an open world.

DayZ remains the king of truly open world, gritty and realistic survival against both zombie and human threats. The tense emergent gameplay situations can‘t be scripted.

For players who want a challenging, punishing survival game with deep mechanics, DayZ stands out as one of the best even in 2023.

Top Weapons for Surviving Player Encounters

Combat and raiding are a major part of the DayZ experience. Let‘s cover some of the best weapons to take down heavily geared players:

  • LAR (FN FAL) – Extremely powerful full auto rifle. Very rare.
  • KA-M – Accurate, high caliber assault rifle for medium range.
  • Mosin-Nagant – Iconic WW2 era bolt action sniper rifle. Common ammo.
  • SKS – Semi-auto rifle with bayonet. Uses mid-tier ammo.
  • UMP 45 – Versatile submachine gun with easy to find ammo.
  • IJ-70 Pistol – Police sidearm with 16 rounds. Reliable backup weapon.
  • MP-133 Shotgun – Devastating up close but very loud.
  • Grenades – Rare but can instantly win ambushes and raids.
  • Landmines – Essential for base defense or ambushes. Highly lethal.

Learning the gunplay and movement takes practice, but mastering DayZ combat is very rewarding. Just remember, the zombies are still deadly! Never let your guard down.

Does DayZ Support Crossplay Between PC and Consoles?

Currently DayZ does not support crossplay between PC, PlayStation and Xbox. Each platform has a separate playerbase.

The developers at Bohemia Interactive would like to enable full crossplay functionality in a future update. But so far they have not managed to sync the different game versions.

For now, people playing on PC cannot squad up or interact with friends on console. Hopefully crossplay arrives soon to unite the community!

DayZ Player Statistics and Counts in 2023

You might be wondering how many people actively play DayZ in 2023. Is the game still going strong?

Absolutely! According to the developers and Steam data, 2022 was DayZ‘s biggest year yet:

  • Over 3.9 million new players joined DayZ in 2022
  • The modding community has created over 17,000 mods
  • 30,000+ cheaters were banned last year, for a total of 100,000 overall.

The average daily player count on Steam floats between 15,000 to 20,000 players. Major updates consistently drive over 50,000 concurrent gamers.

Nearly a decade after launch, DayZ remains healthy and popular. The exciting plans for future content suggest plenty of life ahead!

Verdict: How to Play DayZ on Steam for Free

DayZ isn‘t permanently free, but you have a few great options to play without paying:

  • Try it during occasional Free Weekend events
  • Use Steam Family Sharing with a friend who owns it
  • Get access via an Xbox Game Pass for PC subscription

Otherwise, watch for Steam sales to grab DayZ at 50-60% off, as low as $18 USD.

I hope this guide gives you a great overview of what makes DayZ so tense and fun. The open world survival experience is one of a kind.

Stay safe out there survivor! The zombie hordes, starvation and ruthless bandits won‘t stop themselves. Let me know if you have any other DayZ questions!



Michael Reddy is a tech enthusiast, entertainment buff, and avid traveler who loves exploring Linux and sharing unique insights with readers.