Apex Legends, the surprise Battle Royale game from Respawn Entertainment, has amassed a very impressive player base since its Feb 4 launch. The game rapidly hit one million, then two million, downloads within 24 hours. By the end of the first week, and the last official number we have, it had hit 25 million downloads.
That is an incredibly impressive first seven day; I think we can all agree. To offer some perspective, Fortnite took two weeks to hit the 10 million player mark. By November 2018, Fortnite had hit 200 million total downloads. As you can see, the potential growth for Apex Legends is enormous, and even with the highly successful launch, the game could go on to set even more records for the genre.
The Battle Royale genre is not forgiving either, which makes this early success all the more impressive. Call of Duty’s Blackout mode failed to take off, possibly because it was trapped behind the price tag of a Triple-A game, and PUBG had a rough year with the player base almost halving since it hit a peak of over three million players in January of last year. Other games, such as Radical Heights, just failed to find an audience at all.
How Can Apex Legends Keeping Growing?
The critical thing for Apex Legends will be to learn from what made Fortnite such a hit, without falling into the trap of just trying to replicate what Epic’s game did. One of the keys to continued growth will be new content. Dataminers recently spotted all kinds of hints at new Heroes and vehicles, and a new weapon has already been introduced to the game.
A considerable part of the game will be adding new skins, especially Hero skins. Exactly what direction Respawn wants to go with new skins remains to be seen, but Fortnite certainly hints at the fact that players will often embrace wild and wacky styles. It remains to be seen if this style of skin would work in Apex Legends.
Continued improvements to the game state and server stability will also be key. While a surprise hit can buy you a lot of goodwill, some players have been reporting a lot of lag during the start of rounds, and unless this is solved, it could end up driving affected players away.
Most important of all will be Respawn sticking to their vision. They had a strong idea as to what would make an exciting game, and with the incredibly solid core gameplay loop of Apex Legends attracting so many players so fast, they will need to be very gentle about introducing new elements and not changing too much, too fast.
The only real question at this point is how long it will take the game to hit the 50 million downloads mark, as that will surely be the next major event that Respawn will be informing us of.