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Will Dead by Daylight be free?

The short answer is: Yes, Dead by Daylight does periodically offer free trials and giveaways across its various platforms. As an avid deal-seeking gamer myself, I‘ve been lucky enough to add Dead by Daylight to my library multiple times over the years without spending a dime. Read on for the full scoop on exactly when and how you can get in on the terrifying asymmetrical action while spending $0.

My Background – Tech Geek Turned Dead by Daylight Fanatic

As a data analyst by day, I‘ve always been fascinated by the underlying numbers and design principles behind my favorite games. I grew up playing classic strategy and role-playing games on PC. These days, my go-to titles are competitive multiplayer games like Dead by Daylight, which offer endless gameplay variety by pitting human players against each other.

About 4 years ago, some friends convinced me to try out Dead by Daylight during a free promo weekend on Steam. I was instantly hooked by the hide-and-seek gameplay and gorgeous horror aesthetic. Since then, I‘ve put over 500 hours into both killer and survivor roles. I always look forward to the latest chapter releases and special events.

Now, let‘s dive into all the insider knowledge I‘ve picked up on how to keep playing this amazing game while minimizing spending.

Dead by Daylight Platforms and Monetization

For context, Dead by Daylight is an asymmetrical multiplayer survival horror game released in 2016 by developer Behaviour Interactive. Up to 5 players participate in each match – 1 killer versus 4 survivors. The survivors attempt to escape by powering generators and opening exit gates, while the killer tries to hunt them down and sacrifice them to a malevolent entity.

Dead by Daylight is available on pretty much every modern platform, including:

  • PC – Steam, Epic Games Store
  • PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5
  • Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S
  • Nintendo Switch
  • Stadia

Survivors can team up regardless of platform, thanks to cross-play support.

The base game retails for $20 on PC or $30 on consoles. There have also been over 25 paid DLC releases that add new survivors, killers, and maps. Cosmetic microtransactions make up the bulk of ongoing revenue.

However, BHVR supplements paid content with frequent free promotions to attract new players and keep existing players engaged. Let‘s examine exactly when and how they‘ve done this.

History of Free Trial & Giveaway Periods

Here is the complete timeline of major free promotions for Dead by Daylight over the past few years:

On Steam:

  • Free weekend promotions – 3 days of free access, occurs about 2-3 times per year
  • 2020 Anniversary Event – June 18-22 2020
  • Halloween events – Oct 29-Nov 1 2021, Oct 28-31 2022

On Epic Games Store:

  • December 2019 – 1 week free giveaway
  • May 2020 – 1 week free giveaway
  • October 2021 – 1 week free giveaway

Other Events:

  • Free Play Days on Xbox – 1 weekend per year
  • Free month with Stadia subscription – Various months

As you can see, Steam free weekends and Epic Game Store giveaways have accounted for the bulk of free access periods.

Based on this history, we can expect 2-4 short term promotions per year. They center around peak player activity times like holidays and anniversary celebrations.

Why Periodic Free Promotions Make Sense

Offering Dead by Daylight for free may seem counterintuitive when BHVR has sold over 6 million copies at $20-$30 each. However, there are a few smart business and gameplay reasons for this strategy:

Acquire New Players

  • Each free promotion directly results in thousands of new players trying the game out with zero risk. Even a small percentage converting to paid customers is a success.

Retain Existing Players

  • Free weekends maintain engagement among existing players. Veteran players are rewarded with bonus Bloodpoints and exclusives.

Increased MICROTRANSACTION Revenue

  • Free players earn currency and unlock new characters during events. This motivates additional purchases of cosmetics and DLC chapters.

Publicity and Awards

  • High concurrent user counts during free periods drives press coverage and boosts Steam review ratings – further promoting the game.

Cross-platform Growth

  • Free offers on any platform funnel players into the shared cross-play ecosystem.

Based on public player population data, these promotions deliver significant spikes in active users:

Event Estimated Concurrent Players
Standard weekend 50,000
Free weekend 120,000
Major update 100,000

In summary, periodic free access drives major growth, retention, and revenue milestones for BHVR and Dead by Daylight. Now let‘s look to the future.

Predicting the Next Free Period

It‘s challenging to know exactly when the next Dead by Daylight free promo will happen. But based on their established pattern, here are my predictions for the most likely scenarios over the next 6 months:

Steam

  • Free weekend coinciding with new chapter – Whenever the next killer arrives in 2023.
  • Spring event or 5 year anniversary – March/April 2023.

Epic Games Store

  • Monthly free game giveaway – Between February and July 2023.

Consoles

  • Free Play Days on Xbox – February or March 2023.
  • Free month with Stadia subscription – Any month.

Major events like holidays and the Steam Summer sale (June 2023) are also prime times to hope for a free promotion.

Based on BHVR‘s ramped up cadence of releases and events, I expect we‘ll see at least 3-4 short term free periods throughout 2023 on some combination of platforms.

Getting Alerts for the Next Freebie Period

To maximize your chance of catching the next Dead by Daylight free promotion, here are some tips:

  • Sign up on the Dead by Daylight website for email alerts from the developers.
  • Follow @DeadByBHVR on Twitter and turn on notifications.
  • Join the r/deadbydaylight subreddit community.
  • Bookmark the Epic Games Store page and check weekly.
  • Watch weekend ads on the Xbox dashboard.
  • Add Dead by Daylight to your Steam wishlist to get notified of sales.
  • Keep an eye on deal aggregator sites like gg.deals.

With so many potential channels, your odds of hearing about the next free period are excellent!

Maximizing Free Trial Periods

When good fortune strikes and you do get access to Dead by Daylight for free, here are some tips to make the most of the limited time:

  • Try both survivor and killer roles – they offer very different playstyles.
  • Level up your favorite character as much as possible to unlock new perks and cosmetics.
  • Build up bloodpoints to spend in the Bloodweb on items and offerings.
  • Complete challenges to earn bonuses like Iridescent Shards.
  • Link your Steam/Epic account to your BHVR account if playing on multiple platforms. This carries over all progress.
  • Refer friends to take advantage of the promotion as well. Survivors work better in groups!
  • If you love the gameplay, purchase some DLC while it‘s on sale or shortly after the free period ends. Your progress carries over seamlessly.

Focusing on leveling your characters, earning rewards, and inviting friends lays the groundwork for continuing playing after the free window closes.

Do I Get to Keep the Game Forever?

Yes, copies of Dead by Daylight claimed during free giveaways are yours to keep permanently! This applies to all platforms.

For example, I still have the base game in my Epic library from their October 2021 promotion. Any purchased DLC also remains accessible across linked accounts.

Temporary Steam free weekends do end after the promo, but your progress and unlocks carry over if you purchase the game later on.

Is Dead by Daylight Worth Buying After Trying for Free?

I can definitively say that Dead by Daylight is worth buying after sampling during a free period. The tense cat-and-mouse gameplay provides endless thrills with a high skill ceiling. BHVR also consistently releases new chapters that introduce fresh characters and map locations.

Ongoing events and battle passes give you long term goals to work towards as both survivor and killer. Cosmetics let you customize characters to suit your personal style. I‘m certain I‘ve gotten my money‘s worth from purchasing DLC chapters after originally playing during free promotions.

If you tend to enjoy competitive multiplayer games with tactical depth, Dead by Daylight absolutely delivers. The asymmetrical survival horror premise funded by cosmetic sales has proven to be a successful formula for Behavior Interactive.

Final Thoughts

Hopefully this guide gives you insight into maximizing your chances of adding Dead by Daylight to your library for free. The developers clearly use limited-time promotions as part of growing the game‘s community over time across all major platforms.

Stay vigilant by signing up for newsletters, joining communities, and bookmarking key pages. Then take full advantage of free periods to experience Dead by Daylight‘s addictive gameplay and progression system for yourself.

As both a frugal gamer and Dead by Daylight fanatic myself, I‘m thrilled that new players can perpetually get a no-cost introduction to one of my favorite multiplayer titles. See you in the Fog for terrifying rounds of survival horror! Just watch out for me when I‘m the Killer.