Apex Legends has hit an immediate high in terms of sheer numbers, with the battle royale newcomer amassing a million players across PC, Xbox One and PS4 inside the first eight hours of its launch.
Vince Zampella, the CEO of developer Respawn Entertainment, took to Twitter to celebrate the milestone for the game which is the self-declared ‘next evolution’ of battle royale.
I’m so overwhelmed right now, @PlayApex broke a million unique players in under 8 hours. ❤️❤️❤️Thank you so much for showing up and being part of this with @Respawn you are amazing!! pic.twitter.com/lvNgfwwKhlFebruary 5, 2019
Published by EA, the shooter is free-to-play, which naturally helps a good deal when it comes to swiftly accruing recruits for the player base. Even so, to hit the magic million in such a short timeframe is a very impressive achievement.
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To give you some perspective, Epic Games announced that Fortnite: Battle Royale had more than a million players after the first 24 hours of going live back in September 2017. Now, it might have reached a million somewhat before the end of that first day – it had hit ‘over’ a million during that period – but it presumably didn’t do it in anything like eight hours, otherwise we’d surely have heard about that.
At any rate, the success of EA’s launch could simply go to show the immense popularity of battle royale games these days, and perhaps also reflects positively on the Titanfall universe – in which Apex Legends is set – to some extent. Although the disappointing news for some regarding the franchise is the rumor that Titanfall 3 isn’t currently in development, and this game is what we’re getting instead (and it doesn’t allow you to get into any actual mechs – certainly a sticking point for some).
It doubtless also helps that Apex Legends offers a different spin on battle royale in that on a basic level it’s Fortnite crossed with Overwatch – a squad-based three-a-side team battler with each player choosing one of eight character classes.
And finally, another major factor has to be the game’s popularity on Twitch, with the big-cheese streamers getting involved on that front.
So, Apex Legends is clearly off to a blazing start, but the real test will come in the longer-term picture, and whether this success can be sustained over the coming months. Fortnite had 125 million registered players in around nine months after launch, and over 200 million as of November 2018.
The launch of Apex Legends has suffered its share of problems, although that’s only to be expected when a game is unleashed and a horde of players are stampeding through the server doors.
Gremlins in the works included the predictable stability issues, for which a server-side patch is apparently inbound, and there were also some problems with matchmaking, but these have reportedly been addressed.
PC players were likely more frustrated by a rather nasty bug which left them permanently stuck ‘loading’ on the main menu, although this issue has apparently now been cured. If you do encounter it, however, the advice is to shut the game down, and fire it up again.
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