Not even giving the game away for free is working for Battleborn, it looks like.
After some speculation, 2K, and Gearbox yesterday announced that Battleborn is going free-to-play. They didn't use that specific term, though, opting to instead call it a free trial.
This trial unlocks all maps and modes for free, as well six characters that rotate weekly. There are no progression caps in place, and as of this writing, you can't pay any real money to unlock anything beyond just buying the game, now called "full game upgrade." The difference here, of course, is that paying would let you access the story campaign, and the remaining heroes.
Sadly, it doesn't look like there's that much demand for it. Despite being available for just around 24 hours, the number of concurrent players on Steam climbed from sub-100 to a meagre 874 at peak. To put this in perspective, it took Evolve, another poorly-received game at launch, hours for the player base to explode after going free-to-play.
Of course, numbers later dwindled when it became clear 2K didn't have the intention to continue with the shift to free-to-play, but for a few days, it looked like Evolve may have a new lease on life. Sadly for Battleborn fans, that game is not seeing anywhere near Evolve's spike in player numbers.
The weekend is still ahead of us, and things could change then, but it's disappointing to see that literary giving away a lot of Battleborn's content for free is still not enough to bring in players.