Apex Legends: The First of its Name, Savior of EA, Breaker of Fortnite, Slayer of Blackout
By Mike Christison
Filed under Gaming Industry
Apex Legends was was one of the biggest surprises in gaming this year that no one—not even EA—saw coming. Without any lead-up or hype before the release of the game, Respawn Entertainment single-handedly defibrillated EA’s stock price with their new title.
The rate of player growth of this game has been staggering so far, reaching 10 million in just 3 days, and 25 million in a week. This rate is faster than Fortnite and PUBG combined, albeit perhaps a little slower than Pokemon GO once the mobile game really hit its stride.
Right now Apex Legends is the hottest thing since sliced bread, making up 15% of all Twitch streaming in the past week. It has dethroned all the major players on Twitch, from League to Counter-Strike.
After DICE’s flop with Battlefield V, there were many publications talking about how EA’s hopes are riding on its big bet with Anthem, which is, to hardly anyone’s surprise, being released in essentially an unfinished state. Apex Legends takes after Fortnite, releasing as a AAA free-to-play title and generating revenue through in-game purchases. After the struggle to strike the right chord with the right “games-as-a-service” model, it appears going for a surprise free-to-play release was the way to go for EA.
The challenge moving forward will be sustaining this rate of growth. Battle Royale games like Fortnite and PUBG worked to create an audience that Apex Legends is now reaping the rewards from, so it makes sense that the growth rate for Apex was faster.
There aren’t many talking about what happened to Call of Duty following the release of Apex Legends, which is probably the closest substitute—Respawn Entertainment originating from Infinity Ward, the creators of Call of Duty after all. With the Battle Royale market getting increasingly saturated, it will be more and more difficult for new entrants to differentiate, steal market share, and then maintain growth. We may see these game lifecycles speed up as this happens, and we will keep you posted.