It seemed to have come out of nowhere, which makes the news that Electronic Arts and Respawn Entertainment’s Apex Legends reached the milestone of more than a million players in just the first eight hours of its availability even more surprising.
Vince Zampella, CEO at Respawn Entertainment, took to Twitter to celebrate the milestone and declared it the ‘next evolution’ of battle royale.
I’m so overwhelmed right now, @PlayApex broke a million unique players in under 8 hours. ❤️❤️❤️
— Vince Zampella (@VinceZampella) February 5, 2019
The free-to-play battle royale shooter—which is set in the Titanfall universe—has received a warm reception since its somewhat surprise announcement and launch yesterday evening. Social media and Twitch went into a mini-meltdown, with many popular streamers instantly switching games to try Apex Legends in the hours following its release, and then giving their mostly positive accounts of their play session.
For a time, Apex Legends was the number one game on Twitch, helped in part by Respawn’s marketing strategy which saw well known battle royale streamers taking part in Respawn’s preview event.
With Apex Legends off to such an amazing start, it will be interesting to see if this short term success can be sustained. Fortnite, for example, had 125 million registered players in around nine months after launch, and over 200 million as of November 2018. These numbers are freakish of course, and we’re not expecting Apex Legends to come anywhere near. However, if it does continue to grow in popularity—especially with the streaming community—then we might just have a worthy competitor to the Fortnite battle royale crown.