EA's surprise release, Apex Legends, may have picked up over 10 million players in just 72 hours of its debut release and now boasts 50 million players, but the battle royale's phenomenal success has brought cheaters flocking to the game.
"As of today, we’ve banned over 355K players on PC through Easy-Anti-Cheat. The service works but the fight against cheaters is an ongoing war that we’ll need to continue to adapt to and be very vigilant about fighting," wrote Respawn community manager Jay Frechette in a post on reddit (thanks, Eurogamer). "We take cheating very seriously and care deeply about the health of Apex Legends for all players.
"We are working on improvements to combat cheaters and we’re going to have to be pretty secretive about our plans. Cheaters are crafty and we don’t want them to see us coming."
To combat the cheaters, Respawn is "reaching out and working directly with experts, both within and outside of EA", and scaling up its anti-cheat team so it has more dedicated resources. It is also adding a report feature on PC to report cheaters in-game that goes directly to Easy-Anti-Cheat.
The post also confirmed EA was aware of players "spamming during character select and the drop and then disconnecting shortly after".
"We’re keeping a lot of our strategy close to the chest so offenders don’t have time to build workarounds before we implement changes. Solutions won’t happen right away but we’re on it," Frechette added.
Apex Legends - a free-to-play battle royale game set within the Titanfall universe - released suddenly last month and made a huge impact, attracting one million unique players in the first eight hours. It's now hit two million concurrent players and remains one of the most popular games on Twitch.
Of course, there's still some way to go before Apex Legends can be considered a real threat to Fortnite's battle royale dominance, which has surpassed 200 million players. Fortnite reportedly earned $455 million on iOS in 2018, earning Epic roughly $1.6 million every day since it launched on the Apple store in March 2018. Epic Games' earned $69 million through its fan-favourite battle royale game in just December last year, during which it was downloaded 5.2 million times - up 52 per cent from November 2018, and up 83 per cent on its previous strongest month - making it Fortnite's biggest month to date.
In its third quarter briefing, Electronic Arts CEO Andrew House acknowledged Q3 was a "difficult quarter" for the company, admitting the publisher/developer "did not perform to [its] expectations" despite the launch of Battlefield V and Command & Conquer: Rivals during the reporting period.
"The video game industry continues to grow through a year of intense competition and transformational change," CEO Andrew Wilson said at the time. "Q3 was a difficult quarter for Electronic Arts and we did not perform to our expectations. We are now applying the strengths of our company to sharpen our execution and focus on delivering great new games and long-term live services for our players. We’re very excited about Apex Legends, the upcoming launch of Anthem, and a deep line-up of new experiences that we’ll bring to our global communities next fiscal year."