The newest battle royale, Apex Legends, has taken the gaming world by storm. Titanfall development studio Respawn really outdid themselves with Apex Legends. But, given the way it was released, things could have gone either way. Free-to-play battle royales are becoming increasingly popular and the fear of bombing due to a certain popular game called Fortnite keeping everyone engaged must have weighed heavily on the mind. Dropping almost out of the blue on Electronic Art’s Origin platform last Monday, Respawn Entertainment’s Apex Legends has picked up an incredible amount of pace in the few days it’s been available for download. In a space seemingly cluttered with Fortnite wannabes, EA’s new title, which is set in the Titanfall universe, is proving to be a legitimate contender in the extremely competitive battle royale arena. Time will tell if it manages to maintain a sizable player-base, but, for the moment, it certainly has everyone’s attention.
Though Apex Legends is already available on PC, Xbox One, and PS4, EA has already hinted at a possible mobile port coming in the near future. In EA’s Q3 2019 earnings call, which took place on the 5th of February, CEO Andrew Wilson emphasized the virtues of their new experience.
“There are so many unique elements of Apex Legends,” he insisted. “The Respawn team has a strong plan for Apex Legends that will engage fans for a long time to come.” He also commented that “… we are looking at how to take the game to mobile and cross-play over time, and I also expect that this game will have tremendous value in Asia.”
It’s no secret that Electronic Arts is eager to muscle in on territory previously claimed by games like Fortnite and PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, and, since those games have long since received mobile translations, it makes sense that the publisher would want to combat the competition on every possible front.
Yet, in their bid to be in the hands of as many players as possible, EA may stretch their new property too far. It doesn’t take a genius to recognize that the mobile versions of both of the previously mentioned battle royale giants are relatively sub-par when compared to their console counterparts, and rushing such an ambitious port to market may be detrimental to the title’s overall quality.
Plus, though the circumstances aren’t quite analogous, EA may risk upsetting consumers worn out over underwhelming mobile products. Apex Legends’ mobile launch may line EA’s pockets, but the publisher doesn’t exactly have much credibility to sacrifice at this point.
Wilson didn’t play coy in revealing to investors his intentions for their new property’s mobile port: it’s mostly for Asian markets. Much like Diablo Immortal, while it probably won’t do all that well state-side, EA stands to make quite a respectable chunk of change overseas where mobile games of this caliber are much more in demand. It’s hard to know what’s to come of Respawn’s newest game, but, for the moment, the future looks promising.
However, Respawn stuck with their plan to drop Apex Legends as a surprise, sneaking up on nearly everyone with a February 4 launch that saw them garner a million players in under eight hours. As amazing as that was, the game attracted 9 million more users during its first 72 hours, as well as 1 million concurrent players.
Respawn boss Vince Zampella announced as much via EA’s website on Thursday evening.
“In 72 hours, over 10 million players have jumped into Apex Legends and we’ve breached 1 million concurrent players!” he wrote.
“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.”
Fortnite took two weeks to hit the 10-million mark but Apex Legends took only three days. Of course, the milestone was helped by the former as it made battle royales popular and indirectly paved the way, yet this is a monster achievement for Respawn, who found attracting players to their Titanfall series a bit difficult.
Additionally, since their launch on Monday, Apex Legends has crushed Fortnitein Twitch viewership, also pulling big-name streamers such as Dr Disrespect, shroud and Ninja. Their first tournament is also just around the corner, with some of the biggest names in the streaming arena set to participate.