Last week EA and Respawn Entertainment surprised everyone by announcing, and immediately releasing, a fully-formed battle royale-style multiplayer shooter based on the Titanfall series.
In the week since, Apex Legends has become a smash hit. After only 72 hours, Respawn Entertainment declared that over 10 million players had played the game, including 1 million players logged in at the same time.
“This has been a truly incredible journey. We knew it would be risky to take the franchise in this direction, to go free to play, and do a surprise launch. But we fell in love with Apex Legends and wanted, needed, other people to play it too,” says Vince Zampella, co-founder, Respawn Entertainment. “From all of us at Respawn, thank you for giving us and Apex Legends a chance. Thank you for joining us on this journey.”
The elephant in the room is comparing Apex Legends’ explosive success to Fortnite’s currently huge popularity in the genre. In fact, it took Fortnite about two weeks to hit the same number of players.
EA and Respawn utilized a modern approach to marketing: live streams and influencers. This strategy paid off with a genre that lives and dies by its popularity. Some of the most popular streamers, such as Ninja and Dr. Disrespect, have completely switched from Fortnite to Apex Legends. And it helps that the game is quite good.
Interestingly, Apex Legends has gained popularity with Twitch audiences, yet Fortnite’s have not decreased. This suggests that Apex Legends may be bringing more newcomers into the genre instead of poaching Fortnite fans.
Apex Legends still has a long way to go before it can challenge Fortnite’s 200 million-strong players for king of the battle royale genre.
Apex Legends is available for free, with optional in-game purchases, on PC (Origin), PlayStation 4, and Xbox One. It’s rated T for Teen for Blood and Violence.