Apex Legends revealed today that the game has hit 50 million players in exactly a month after its release. On top of being an impressive achievement in its own right, that fact also means that Apex Legends is currently growing four times faster than Fortnite's playerbase did at equivalent player number counts.
Apex Legends was the darling of February gaming, despite a few high-profile releases in Metro Exodus and Anthem threatening to steal the spotlight. Developer Respawn Entertainment managed to convert some early negativity towards a game that was described as a Titanfall battle royale title into swaths of positive buzz and hasn't looked back. Apex Legends was already growing faster than Fortnite earlier in its launch, but a major part of the sustainability of titles like those two comes from the ability to remain relevant once the initial hype has died down.
While we wouldn't say we're at that point yet, Apex Legends fans don't appear to have anything to worry about. Apex Legends hit 50 million players exactly 4 weeks after its release, showing that the game's playerbase is still burgeoning. For reference, Fortnite hit 45 million players in its sixteenth week of availability, which means that Apex Legends is growing at a rate that's over four times as fast as the current battle royale king. Here's a tweet from Daniel Ahmad, a video games analyst with a keen eye for trends:
Number of Apex Legends players after:— Daniel Ahmad (@ZhugeEX) March 4, 2019
8 hours - 1m
1 day - 2.5m
3 days - 10m
1 week - 25m
4 weeks - 50m
Number of Fortnite BR players after:
2 weeks - 10m
6 weeks - 20m
11 weeks - 30m
16 weeks - 45m
Obviously, these figures aren't outright confirmation that Apex Legends is a "better" game in any way. First, the battle royale genre wasn't as embedded in gaming culture as it is now when Fortnite was growing, which would naturally account for its slower progression. Second, it's important to note that, while Apex Legends is doing great, the time it took the game to double its numbers from 25 million to 50 million does indicate that it is slowing down, however slightly. There's a finite number of players to attract to a battle royale title and, again, that kind of slowdown is expected - it's just worth pointing out all the same as we approach what could be the first player count ceiling Apex Legends will have to figure out how to break through.
Regardless of your feelings on the battle royale genre, Fortnite, or Apex Legends, it's hard not to be impressed both by how popular these games are and how quickly they're able to ingratiate themselves towards fans. EA and Respawn Entertainment very clearly have a hit on their hands, but explosive growth has never been the issue for games that catch the attention of players worldwide. Maintaining and sustaining a playerbase will be the next challenge, one that Apex Legends appears ready to address with its many planned updates in the coming months.