Less than a month ago, Apex Legends was unheard of. Nearly three weeks after its release on February 4, it has become one of the biggest games in the world.
Battle Royale done right
The battle royale genre exploded after games like Fortnite and PUBG, and to a lesser extent H1Z1, became mainstream.
Even in 2019, gamers are clamoring for more battle royale options. Then, out of nowhere, came Apex Legends. Respawn and EA's surprise release, and entry into the battle royale market in February has been nothing short of incredible.
Apex Legends has been an instant hit
The game is still in its relative infancy, but if its early days are anything to judge it by, it will be around for a long time to come. The developers of Apex produced a polished and enjoyable BR experience from day one, and that made all the difference in the world
What's the ideal price of a game? Of course the answer to that is: 'free'.
The free-to-play model was first introduced in the late 1990s, most notably in the massively multiplayer online (MMOs) genre. In recent times, it has been proven extremely successful with Fortune and now, Apex Legends.
The idea behind free-to-play is twofold. Firstly, it maximizes player count, which is vital if the numbers dwindle. Secondly, it makes the game as available as it can possibly be. Revenue is generated by in-game purchases. In Fortnite and Apex Legends, these tend to be cosmetic items
This strategy for Apex Legends is in contrast to PUBG and Blackout. Both of them maintain the traditional model of having to buy the game, although PUBG is significantly cheaper than the average AAA title.
Notably, Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 cost $ 60 on release, while PUBG was $ 30. Despite this, Blackout games are still filled with players, which is a testament to just how good a job Treyarch has been developing CoD's first Battle Royale mode
Apex Legends is yet another proof that the free-to-play model works.
Video game companies are still trying to create the perfect battle royale game. In the opinion of many, Apex Legends has come the closest so far
Perfection is, theoretically, an impossible task as it will be impossible to please all gamers. Some prefer fast-paced gameplay, while others prefer a more realistic experience.
With that said, the pace of gameplay, map design and shooting mechanics of Apex Legends might have combined to find a sweet spot among battle royale players. such as respawn beacons, legends and even finishers have only added to the allure that is Apex Legends. Just ask an avid player how much their main character means to them, and you'll understand the connection that is made between the player and the legend
EA and Respawn
Electronic Arts (EA) is the publisher of Apex Legends. Even fringe video gamers will know who they are as they are among the most notable publishers out there and that they have a lot of resources
Apex Legends has some serious backing behind them, and is sure to receive more of it continues to thrive.
Respawn, the developers for Apex Legends, have also done a stellar job in making the game. They have avoided many of the mistakes that other developers, including EA themselves, have made in recent years, meaning that they have kept the community's support
While Apex Legends is the hottest thing in gaming world right now, it also has an abundance of popular streamers playing it – the perfect advertisement
Streamers command the attention of millions of followers around the world. Simply put, if a lot of big streamers are playing your game, you're in good stead.
Twitch metrics show the huge popularity of Apex Legends in February. It currently boasts the best average viewers per stream and has had the highest concurrent viewers, topping out over 650,000.
It still tracks Fortnight for the most streamed game which is not overly surprising. Interestingly, it also trails the League of Legends (LoL) for most hours watched on a game.
The popularity of Apex Legends has resulted in various tournaments being held for the game already. These have included Code Red and Twitch Rivals, bringing in a huge number of viewers.
With the likes of Dr Disrespect, Ninja, Summit1g, Shroud and many more singing the praises of Apex Legends, it's hard to see it failing any time
Many of the world's greatest streams have been pouring into Apex Legends.
Comparisons to Fortnite, Blackout and PUBG
In terms of hype, there is no doubt that Apex Legends leads the way. The new Titanfall-esque battle royale experience has the distinct advantage of being the newest player to the table.
Once this initial honeymoon phase subsides, it will be clearer where it stands among other battle royal stalwarts of Fortnite, Blackout and PUBG .  Due to Apex Legend's unique map, time to kill and intuitive new gameplay, it is hard to offer a direct comparison against its main competitors
It seems the developers at Respawn have targeted a middle-ground in terms of setting and game speed, while refining some of the more annoying parts of the battle royale genre.
A perfect example of addressing and fixing a problem within battle royale games is the new respawn concept ( Not to be confused with the developer Respawn). Battle royale games are unforgiving – if you die, you are waiting for the next game before you return to the action. Apex Legends, however, offers the chance to get a teammate back into the game by taking their card to one of many respawn points.
Of all major battle royale games at this moment, Fortnite and PUBG probably differ the most. One has a cartoon-like graphics, is fast-paced and is not worried about realism. Conversely, PUBG is primarily a slow-paced battle royale experience played in huge maps with an emphasis on realistic gun battles.
Naturally, Apex Legends had been in development for quite some time before its release and it is therefore these two games that were perhaps their yard stick. When looking at elements such as graphics, game speed, gun-play and even the number of perks, it looks like they were trying to encapsulate the best of both
Much like call of duty: Blackout, Apex Legends has had
Treyarch also had the opportunity to analyze previous battle royale games and adjust accordingly. Blackout is arguably the smoothest battle royale game to date, especially on the console, and maintains the unmistakably premium feel of CoD's shooting mechanics
While Apex Legends has, like CoD, gone for a middle-ground where pace and gun play is concerned , it has found a gap in the battlefield royale by introducing a futuristic world where the time to kill is among the highest we've seen.
Elsewhere, Fortnite continues to keep its fan base with frequent updates. However, in terms of raw gameplay, it looks like Apex Legends and Blackout have surpassed it in the eyes of many fans
Apex Legends Numbers
Nothing proves the success of Apex Legends more than the impressive statistics it can boast . These vary from social media followers, Reddit subscribers and most importantly players count within the game itself.
The official announcement stream, the use of top streamers and personalities, and community interaction from the developers made for the perfect marketing campaign in the early days and weeks of the game
The official Apex Legends Twitter account has gone from zero to over 727,000 followers in February alone. To put that in perspective, the official PUBG Twitter has less than double that but was made in April 2016.
@PlayApex Twitter followers courtesy of Social Blade
Elsewhere, the official Apex Legends Subreddit is also thriving. It has over 500,000 subscribers and shows little sign of slowing down.
Developers regularly respond to community members on Reddit, taking a leaf out of Epic Games' book and the way they have handled Fortnite community
However, as with any game, player count is king. In any multiplayer game, especially battle royale, a big player count is required to keep waiting times reduced to a minimum
It has been confirmed that 25 million unique players have entered King's Canyon. In addition, this was the released number as of February 13. As a result, it is not unreasonable to assume that the actual number will exceed this by a substantial amount as we approach March. Also, there have been confirmed 2 million concurrent players
As this number comes from official Apex Legends sources, it's safe to assume this is across all platforms, though. in the coming days, weeks, and months, it's clear that Respawn has a true winner on their hands for the time being.
The true test will be whether it can evade the pitfalls made by Fortnite and PUBG by finding a balance between their casual and competitive communities.
For the time being, there's never been a better time to be a battle royale fan.