Apex Legends Now at 10 Million Players After 72 Hours, 1 Million Concurrent

Oct 26, 2017
286
I have a kid who is Fortnite crazy, and Apex hasn’t changed that for him. I think Apex has a lot of situational abilities and strategies that will not resonate with the younger crowd, so they’ll stick to FN. I think FN will bleed a lot of its older audience to this game though. Both will remain massive, lol.
 
Oct 25, 2017
1,048
I'm curious what happens when Apex players get through the honeymoon and start asking for improvements / updates, and not just asking for them really, but because of Fortnite and the expectations Epic has created, but demanding those improvements. Love or hate Fortnite, Epic has essentially defined what is possible and created a new standard when it comes to game support and evolution; as a technology holder, they are in a unique position to support and move their game forward for their audience, but they haven't ever really allowed Fortnite to stagnate. Quite the opposite, I'd argue, if anything they've allowed Fortnite to evolve too quickly; they have made decisions that I think in part have made an opening for a game like Apex to swing in and threaten them.

But the real test isn't these first few weeks as people get a taste for something different and undeniably fun, it's in the months to come as players demand reactions, new toys, new skins, map updates, weapons, challenges, deployables, characters, balance tweaks, nerfs, buffs, engine changes, more players, fundamental game changes... and they will. Because BR players are not just demanding, but they are fickle, and they *will* move to whatever gives them the best current experience.

I'm in the camp that thinks Fortnite and Apex will almost lovingly co-exist, providing different experiences for different kinds of players, but even though I prefer Fortnite, as someone who is getting comfortable with Apex I am now starting to wonder about all this stuff. It's a rocky road and Respawn had best prepare for it.
 
Oct 25, 2017
1,378
So who do you attribute Apex Legends' successful launch to then?

I should add though, Titanfall 2's poor retention numbers are NOT EA's problem.
Retention is purely in the realm of the developer.
Well if you don't have much to retain in the first place...

I'm pretty certain or it's at least highly likely that the bulk of Titanfall 2 sales were at a discount, probably a steep one. You can get the game for like $5 regularly now. And most people buying it at that price for a long time were probably motivated by the highly positive buzz about the single-player campaign (which is fairly short at around 12 hours, and not worth a $60 price tag to most people), rather than a popping multiplayer scene. Even if the multiplayer was good.

Multiplayer games live and die on word of mouth and momentum these days -- it's not enough to simply make a good game anymore and send it out into the world. I'd think someone with a verified designer tag would realize this, but I'm aware that it's an extremely common stumbling point for indie developers especially when I read the dozens and dozens of stories/retrospectives about games that have failed commercially. The games industry is cutthroat, as the barriers to development and release have dropped massively. Many game developers are decent enough developers, but terrible at understanding the nuances of business -- the most successful will understand both, or hire/consult with someone that does. Doing so is just that much more expensive however, and people often way undervalue the more subtle things that aren't visible deliverables, or easily measured with some metric.

And in terms of Apex Legends - I'd say it's both on EA and Respawn (though maybe not equally). EA for being smart enough to allow Respawn to remain on a longer leash than many other publishers would after an unsuccessful game release, and Respawn for making an excellent game. If it is indeed true that Respawn has been more in the drivers seat the whole time, then it makes sense that whoever at the studio (whether one or multiple people) stubbornly insisted on the Titanfall 2 release date learned from their mistake when launching Apex. I've seen numerous cases in games and other industries where a company DOESN'T learn from their mistakes (or learns the wrong lessons from their successes) and hurts themselves in the short or long run. Could be as bad as leading to financial ruin, bankruptcy, or just having underwhelming sales and significant loss of public interest/trust.
 

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Well if you don't have much to retain in the first place...

I'm pretty certain or it's at least highly likely that the bulk of Titanfall 2 sales were at a discount, probably a steep one. You can get the game for like $5 regularly now. And most people buying it at that price for a long time were probably motivated by the highly positive buzz about the single-player campaign (which is fairly short at around 12 hours, and not worth a $60 price tag to most people), rather than a popping multiplayer scene. Even if the multiplayer was good.

Multiplayer games live and die on word of mouth and momentum these days -- it's not enough to simply make a good game anymore and send it out into the world. I'd think someone with a verified designer tag would realize this, but I'm aware that it's an extremely common stumbling point for indie developers especially when I read the dozens and dozens of stories/retrospectives about games that have failed commercially. The games industry is cutthroat, as the barriers to development and release have dropped massively. Many game developers are decent enough developers, but terrible at understanding the nuances of business -- the most successful will understand both, or hire/consult with someone that does. Doing so is just that much more expensive however, and people often way undervalue the more subtle things that aren't visible deliverables, or easily measured with some metric.

And in terms of Apex Legends - I'd say it's both on EA and Respawn (though maybe not equally). EA for being smart enough to allow Respawn to remain on a longer leash than many other publishers would after an unsuccessful game release, and Respawn for making an excellent game. If it is indeed true that Respawn has been more in the drivers seat the whole time, then it makes sense that whoever at the studio (whether one or multiple people) stubbornly insisted on the Titanfall 2 release date learned from their mistake when launching Apex. I've seen numerous cases in games and other industries where a company DOESN'T learn from their mistakes (or learns the wrong lessons from their successes) and hurts themselves in the short or long run. Could be as bad as leading to financial ruin, bankruptcy, or just having underwhelming sales and significant loss of public interest/trust.
I work with game metrics on a daily basis, so I'm pretty aware of the nuances of games as a business.

TF2 had more than the critical mass required to sustain itself on launch. Saying it never had a playerbase to sustain is just plain wrong. Both TF1 and TF2 MP never got seemed to get past the D7-D30 retention stage, which (for a paid title) speaks to a weak meta and poor new user experience. Apex Legends fixes both issues by implementing a deep economy/progression system and dramatically simplifying the gameplay.
 
Jul 25, 2018
2,746
I work with game metrics on a daily basis, so I'm pretty aware of the nuances of games as a business.

TF2 had more than the critical mass required to sustain itself on launch. Saying it never had a playerbase to sustain is just plain wrong. Both TF1 and TF2 MP never got seemed to get past the D7-D30 retention stage, which (for a paid title) speaks to a weak meta and poor new user experience. Apex Legends fixes both issues by implementing a deep economy/progression system and dramatically simplifying the gameplay.
Do you have any predictions for how well Apex will do relative to Fortnite? Both in users and in monetization.
 

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Do you have any predictions for how well Apex will do relative to Fortnite? Both in users and in monetization.
I don't think it'll hit remotely close to Fortnite's numbers in the long term--I'm trying to be very unbiased here because I really dislike Fortnite and I love all of Respawn's games, lol. Biggest factors here being (1) not being on mobile, (2) having a higher gameplay skill floor, (3) having a less universal art style, and (4) being an EA product, as EA has not yet shown they're capable of scaling a product to superstar status outside of FIFA, whereas Epic is continuing to push the medium on a daily basis and is now a live ops leader in the industry.

Monetization-wise, hard to tell until Respawn unveils all of its monetization features, and generally more hardcore games have higher LTVs (average expected lifetime revenue per player), but I'd probably give the edge to Fortnite here too on the basis that they're a bit more shameless with what they're selling and how they're doing it.
 
Nov 2, 2017
2,601
Norway
I work with game metrics on a daily basis, so I'm pretty aware of the nuances of games as a business.

TF2 had more than the critical mass required to sustain itself on launch. Saying it never had a playerbase to sustain is just plain wrong. Both TF1 and TF2 MP never got seemed to get past the D7-D30 retention stage, which (for a paid title) speaks to a weak meta and poor new user experience. Apex Legends fixes both issues by implementing a deep economy/progression system and dramatically simplifying the gameplay.
So if one requires simplified gameplay, how does that explain fortnite?
I've tried a few matches there and I just can wrap my head around both building and shooting at the same time..

Apex is quite simple though until you start with the more advanced tactics like pathfinder grapple shenanigans.
 
Oct 25, 2017
1,378
I don't think it'll hit remotely close to Fortnite's numbers in the long term--I'm trying to be very unbiased here because I really dislike Fortnite and I love all of Respawn's games, lol. Biggest factors here being (1) not being on mobile, (2) having a higher gameplay skill floor, (3) having a less universal art style, and (4) being an EA product, as EA has not yet shown they're capable of scaling a product to superstar status outside of FIFA, whereas Epic is continuing to push the medium on a daily basis and is now a live ops leader in the industry.

Monetization-wise, hard to tell until Respawn unveils all of its monetization features, and generally more hardcore games have higher LTVs (average expected lifetime revenue per player), but I'd probably give the edge to Fortnite here too on the basis that they're a bit more shameless with what they're selling and how they're doing it.
Those are fair points and Epic has been smart about things with Fortnite, pivoting development into the BR trend and maintaining the GaaS model for a F2P title, but outside their game engine business, Epic was in a creative slump for their own games since about after Gears of War 2. Licensing Unreal Engine is great, but they're pretty much a one-tricky-pony right now with Fortnite in terms of games they've made themselves. The few other IPs they've had haven't been nearly as successful in recent years (really about a decade now), with some being outright canceled, if not had development placed on indefinite hold in favor of supporting Fortnite. Fortnite is really the only "superstar" game they've made in a little over a decade, so just because they capitalized on one trend, doesn't mean they're capable of repeating the task. I don't see the Epic Games Store going very far in it's current state without throwing piles of Fortnite money at it to force adoption, for example.
 
So if one requires simplified gameplay, how does that explain fortnite?
I've tried a few matches there and I just can wrap my head around both building and shooting at the same time..

Apex is quite simple though until you start with the more advanced tactics like pathfinder grapple shenanigans.
Epic made Fortnite more about completing daily, weekly, and holiday-related Challenges to level up the Battle Pass and unlock new cosmetics, because only 50% of Fortnite players have achieved even just a single Solo Victory Royale (down to 25% for 2 or more). Hardcores can still go for those first place finishes, while less-skilled players are satisfied to grind the cosmetic treadmill.

Without the Challenges, the skill ceiling of building and editing (editing even more than building) would just be way too much for most people. The best players manipulate the world with God-like powers.
 

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So if one requires simplified gameplay, how does that explain fortnite?
I've tried a few matches there and I just can wrap my head around both building and shooting at the same time..

Apex is quite simple though until you start with the more advanced tactics like pathfinder grapple shenanigans.
I think most casual Fortnite players just ignore its building. Apeleg definitely makes some huge strides in lowering the barrier of entry though. I’ve been gushing about all of its little design decisions for days with my dev buddies. The jump master and ping system in particular are probably the two most revolutionary things to come to the genre since it’s inception. Respawn really just did a fantastic job here.
 
Oct 25, 2017
1,048
Epic made Fortnite more about completing daily, weekly, and holiday-related Challenges to level up the Battle Pass and unlock new cosmetics, because only 50% of Fortnite players have achieved even just a single Solo Victory Royale. Hardcores can still go for those first place finishes, while less-skilled players are satisfied to grind the cosmetic treadmill.

Without the Challenges, the skill ceiling of building and editing (editing even more than building) would just be way too much for most people.
I think it would be a mistake for Apex to not essentially gun for the same thing when it comes to a Battle Pass. Normal people don't always want to sweat, we like pretty new toys to chase after too that are the result of (mostly) mindless activity.
 

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Those are fair points and Epic has been smart about things with Fortnite, pivoting development into the BR trend and maintaining the GaaS model for a F2P title, but outside their game engine business, Epic was in a creative slump for their own games since about after Gears of War 2. Licensing Unreal Engine is great, but they're pretty much a one-tricky-pony right now with Fortnite in terms of games they've made themselves. The few other IPs they've had haven't been nearly as successful in recent years (really about a decade now), with some being outright canceled, if not had development placed on indefinite hold in favor of supporting Fortnite. Fortnite is really the only "superstar" game they've made in a little over a decade, so just because they capitalized on one trend, doesn't mean they're capable of repeating the task. I don't see the Epic Games Store going very far in it's current state without throwing piles of Fortnite money at it to force adoption, for example.
Listen, you're preaching to the choir with regards to Epic being creatively bankrupt, lol.
That said, they're market leaders because Epic has really leveled up their live ops. They didn't invent Battle Pass, but they brought it to a point where it's probably going to be the next dominant monetization scheme after loot boxes. That's a remarkable level of innovation in a field where everyone's trying to figure out how to make the most money.

You're right that Epic probably can't just shit out another hit, but they really won't need to if they play their cards right with the EGS. Still too early to tell there, but the general sentiment of trying to diversity their business is a good one, I think. Lowers risk.

It's an interesting comparison to Riot Games (full disclosure, am former employee), which is trying to make more games with their money and still hasn't put anything out yet.
 
Oct 25, 2017
1,378
Listen, you're preaching to the choir with regards to Epic being creatively bankrupt, lol.
That said, they're market leaders because Epic has really leveled up their live ops. They didn't invent Battle Pass, but they brought it to a point where it's probably going to be the next dominant monetization scheme after loot boxes. That's a remarkable level of innovation in a field where everyone's trying to figure out how to make the most money.

You're right that Epic probably can't just shit out another hit, but they really won't need to if they play their cards right with the EGS. Still too early to tell there, but the general sentiment of trying to diversity their business is a good one, I think. Lowers risk.

It's an interesting comparison to Riot Games (full disclosure, am former employee), which is trying to make more games with their money and still hasn't put anything out yet.
Yeah it's definitely similar to Riot. That's an interesting situation, as I know someone that worked there in a department that wasn't directly on League stuff and basically it was described to me as mismanaged to hell (besides any other internal culture issues we sometimes hear about), but they had so much fuck-you money from League for so long that it didn't matter. That department was eventually mostly cut with only a few getting moved to other stuff in the past year or two and he no longer works there. He's had some contract stuff for other companies, but hopefully he gets full-time employment again -- the industry can be brutal.
 
Oct 25, 2017
3,094
Yeah it's definitely similar to Riot. That's an interesting situation, as I know someone that worked there in a department that wasn't directly on League stuff and basically it was described to me as mismanaged to hell (besides any other internal culture issues we sometimes hear about), but they had so much fuck-you money from League for so long that it didn't matter. That department was eventually mostly cut with only a few getting moved to other stuff in the past year or two and he no longer works there. He's had some contract stuff for other companies, but hopefully he gets full-time employment again -- the industry can be brutal.
Riot had so much fuck-you money that they flew me 3000 miles for an interview in 2010 solely because I made an incredibly dumb video that got a shitload of views because of a clickbaity title. I didn’t get the job but it was still fun to walk around, meet Riot folks, and see the fruits of all that crazy money they were making.

Of course, learning about the prevalent toxic Riot culture sours that memory a fair bit.
 
Oct 25, 2017
1,378
Riot had so much fuck-you money that they flew me 3000 miles for an interview in 2010 solely because I made an incredibly dumb video that got a shitload of views because of a clickbaity title. I didn’t get the job but it was still fun to walk around, meet Riot folks, and see the fruits of all that crazy money they were making.

Of course, learning about the prevalent toxic Riot culture sours that memory a fair bit.
Yeah Riot basically pioneered the F2P model of relying on whales before mobile gacha games were anywhere near as big as some have gotten. It's crazy.
 
Jan 10, 2018
120
As far as Battle Royale goes, I have only experienced PUBG prior to Apex Legends and I'm really addicted to Apex, I like that the characters have different abilities, the sliding mechanic is done well...the zipline to bring you upstream to relocate elsewhere on the map is also very nice.
 
Oct 27, 2017
2,147
I'm curious what happens when Apex players get through the honeymoon and start asking for improvements / updates, and not just asking for them really, but because of Fortnite and the expectations Epic has created, but demanding those improvements. Love or hate Fortnite, Epic has essentially defined what is possible and created a new standard when it comes to game support and evolution; as a technology holder, they are in a unique position to support and move their game forward for their audience, but they haven't ever really allowed Fortnite to stagnate. Quite the opposite, I'd argue, if anything they've allowed Fortnite to evolve too quickly; they have made decisions that I think in part have made an opening for a game like Apex to swing in and threaten them.

But the real test isn't these first few weeks as people get a taste for something different and undeniably fun, it's in the months to come as players demand reactions, new toys, new skins, map updates, weapons, challenges, deployables, characters, balance tweaks, nerfs, buffs, engine changes, more players, fundamental game changes... and they will. Because BR players are not just demanding, but they are fickle, and they *will* move to whatever gives them the best current experience.

I'm in the camp that thinks Fortnite and Apex will almost lovingly co-exist, providing different experiences for different kinds of players, but even though I prefer Fortnite, as someone who is getting comfortable with Apex I am now starting to wonder about all this stuff. It's a rocky road and Respawn had best prepare for it.
I think this is what has kicked blackout in the teeth, they’ve been too slow to keep updating.

At launch they promised all kinds of things but for some unknown reason they seem to have stalled, even on the multiplayer side
 
jumping in as a complete casual and this is the first F2P i put money into. Paid the 19.99 for the coins to unlock the two other characters. I suck, but something about this game feels as if the sky is the limit. Like they'll keep adding Champions and abilities. I love the feel and tone of this game. Never got into PUBG and Fortnite is just something I would boot up every now and then for a match or two. This game is the first to grab me. Really digging it. Hope they get even more creative with the Champion power and go completely Overwatch...
 
Oct 28, 2017
11,433
I work with game metrics on a daily basis, so I'm pretty aware of the nuances of games as a business.

TF2 had more than the critical mass required to sustain itself on launch. Saying it never had a playerbase to sustain is just plain wrong. Both TF1 and TF2 MP never got seemed to get past the D7-D30 retention stage, which (for a paid title) speaks to a weak meta and poor new user experience. Apex Legends fixes both issues by implementing a deep economy/progression system and dramatically simplifying the gameplay.
What you're saying is interesting, I'm feeling like TF|2 did a lot to make it accessible considering high survival time and the ability to feel powerful several times in a match. Is it the skill ceiling, the UI, or maybe it's because the progression feeling of the game's RPG elements are weak ?
 
Nov 2, 2017
2,601
Norway
I think most casual Fortnite players just ignore its building. Apeleg definitely makes some huge strides in lowering the barrier of entry though. I’ve been gushing about all of its little design decisions for days with my dev buddies. The jump master and ping system in particular are probably the two most revolutionary things to come to the genre since it’s inception. Respawn really just did a fantastic job here.
The ping system is a stroke of genius. Very simple and almost completely eliminates the need for chat/voice. I think it will bring in a lot of MP-averse people like me.
 
Oct 26, 2017
12,403
My biggest worry with this game is slow updates not keeping up with the momentum of the community. Respawn's work with Titanfall 2 updates, while good, wasn't exactly blisteringly fast.
I think this game is way higher stakes for them and thus will see more investment. It's also a free BR game, by design it will require more updates to keep the audience entertained.
 

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What you're saying is interesting, I'm feeling like TF|2 did a lot to make it accessible considering high survival time and the ability to feel powerful several times in a match. Is it the skill ceiling, the UI, or maybe it's because the progression feeling of the game's RPG elements are weak ?
TF’s defining strength is also its biggest weakness--high mobility. High mobility in the series means...
1. Positioning is less important. Getting to the top of the sniper tower in every other game is a big risk/reward maneuver. It's not in Titanfall.
2. Prediction is more difficult. With more mobility options, the decision options open up. This makes the game much harder to learn, and makes enemies less predictable. Great for depth, bad for new players.
3. Both skill floor and skill ceiling are higher. It's hard to get decent and it's even harder to get good. New players lack a safe environment to play in. There's much more to think about at any one point.
4. Intensity is at 100% all the way through. Titanfall matches are exhausting because there are no peaks and valleys. There are peaks and higher peaks.

TF2 did a lot to address TF1's mobility issues, but not enough. Apeleg does much better.
 
Oct 27, 2017
1,368
I really don't agree that Fortnite has a lower skill floor than Apex. Early Fortnite was a genuinely accessible game, but the level of skill needed to build (or to counter building) is actually pretty high. A total novice would find it at least as easy to pick up Apex as Fortnite.
 
Oct 27, 2017
313
Do you have any predictions for how well Apex will do relative to Fortnite? Both in users and in monetization.
Thinking about monetization between the two... A fortnite skin can be anything from a pizza head to a dragon, an Apex skin has to be one of the Legends already created, so just a style difference, color difference, etc.

I think that will hurt monetization in the long run for Apex, vs the Fortnite team who can do whatever they want.
 
Oct 27, 2017
940
Thinking about monetization between the two... A fortnite skin can be anything from a pizza head to a dragon, an Apex skin has to be one of the Legends already created, so just a style difference, color difference, etc.

I think that will hurt monetization in the long run for Apex, vs the Fortnite team who can do whatever they want.
There will be more "out there" skins in the future for sure. Games usually play it safe in the beginning.
 
It’s in threads like these where I learn that games I play are dead.
People have a tendency to act like if you're not the biggest then you're dead. It happened with PUBG when Fortnite became more popular despite PUBG still having incredibly high user activity, which it still has. Like PUBG at this moment has 200k concurrent, which is *insane*, but a lot of people will tell you that it's dead and no one cares about it anymore. It's very weird

I can't speak to Blackout numbers, but as long as your still able to get into a match that isn't 50% bots it's probably doing just fine

TF2 had more than the critical mass required to sustain itself on launch. Saying it never had a playerbase to sustain is just plain wrong. Both TF1 and TF2 MP never got seemed to get past the D7-D30 retention stage, which (for a paid title) speaks to a weak meta and poor new user experience. Apex Legends fixes both issues by implementing a deep economy/progression system and dramatically simplifying the gameplay.
I think that this is looking at TF2 too much in a vacuum while completely ignoring the timing of it's launch
 
Oct 31, 2018
1,154
It won't dethrone Fortnite. It's squad based, it's not on mobile or Switch, and it's not crossplay. If I had to guess, I'd say Apex will get about 50% of its players from Fortnite and the other 50% from the more adult shooters like Blackout, PUBG, R6S, Battlefield, etc. It'll be interesting to see where things stand in a month, after Fortnite will have had its Valentines event and then the new season starting Feb 27th.
Fortnite didn't have all those at launch. Apex I predict will change dramatically with updates.

Also 25m players and well over 2m concurrent now. WOW!
 

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Jul 24, 2018
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I think this is what has kicked blackout in the teeth, they’ve been too slow to keep updating.

At launch they promised all kinds of things but for some unknown reason they seem to have stalled, even on the multiplayer side
I really like blackout but ever since Apex released I've just been wanting to play a match of that instead. It has more personality and a greater variety of gameplay situations, and is in general more fun.