Respawn Entertainment’s Apex Legends has had a stratospheric rise in popularity since its release just two weeks ago. Over the course of the last little while we’ve seen a slew of news stories breathlessly reporting on its ballooning player count: first busting through the million mark, then exceeding ten million until it was revealed that just a week after launch, a whopping twenty-five million people had turned up to see what all the fuss is about. This explosion in the number of players has got some wondering whether the game could eventually eclipse Fortnite as the biggest title in the world.
It’s possible, but it’s still got quite a long way to go yet. As of November 2018, Fortnite had achieved a jaw-dropping 200 million player count (with an average 40 million people playing at a time). But don’t count out Apex Legends just yet, because a comparison of their growth patterns reveals some interesting trends.
For one, it took Fortnite 41 days to hit the 20 million player mark, which Apex Legends managed in less than a week. Also working in the new contender’s favor is that, as fun as Fortnite is, everyone’s very, very familiar with it by now. Apex Legends is new and shiny and may well syphon off a portion of Fortnite players who’ve gotten a little tired of traipsing around Tilted Towers for the thousandth time.
But there are a couple of factors working against Apex Legends, too. For one, Fortnite is currently available on pretty much every conceivable gaming device, from smartphones to consoles to tablets to PCs. Secondly, while the two games share a genre, Fortnite is a little more appealing to young children (who are particularly susceptible to its build n’ shoot charms).
Whether Apex Legends does eventually win out over Fortnite or not, it’s undoubtedly been a huge success for Respawn Entertainment and in my view, a richly deserved one after the underrated Titanfall 2 was a mild commercial disappointment.