EA’s surprise battle royale release, Apex Legends, has picked up over 10 million players in just 72 hours of its debut release. To put that into context, the free-to-play shooter was able to do in 72 hours what Fortnite took two weeks to pull off.
Apex: Legends – a free-to-play battle royale game set within the Titanfall universe – released suddenly this week and made a huge impact, attracting one million unique players in the first eight hours. It’s now hit one million concurrent players, and is currently the most popular game on Twitch.
"In 72 hours, over 10 million players have jumped into Apex Legends and we’ve breached 1 million concurrent players!" said Respawn’s Vince Zampella (thanks, Eurogamer). "This has been a truly incredible journey. We tested and tweaked. We argued and agreed. We got to a point where we felt some magic. 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."
"We hoped you’d love it as much as us, but never in our wildest dreams could we have expected the outpouring of support and positivity we’ve seen. From all of us at Respawn, thank you for giving us and Apex Legends a chance. Thank you for joining us on this journey. This is just the beginning! We have so much more in store for you this year. See you in the arena!"
Of course, there’s still some way to go before Apex Legends can be considered a real threat to Fortnite’s battle royalw dominance. Fortnite has 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."