It's been quite the rollercoaster ride for shares of EA lately. The company saw its latest entry in its bread and butter Battlefield franchise, Battlefield V underperform, sending its stock shares plummeting. Then its subsidiary Respawn Entertainment launched Apex Legends, and it singlehandedly turned things around for EA. Apex Legends launched as a surprise earlier this month and boasted a million players within eight hours. The game then went on to bring in 10 million players in only 72 hours after launch and the title was obviously beginning to spread like wildfire among gamers.
The announcement that the game had landed so many players in three days was enough to send shares of EA up 16% on Friday. That is almost the same amount that the stock price had fallen since EA announced it had missed revenue expectations by bringing in $1.61 billion, falling short of the $1.75 billion expected. Respawn's Apex Legends success pushed the stock back into the positive. Shares of EA ended the week up 7% overall for the week and are trending higher again pre-market this morning.
The real winners in EA's rally at the end of the week are the investors who purchased EA shares when the stock was down. The stock had been trading for somewhere between $74 and $82 per share at its lowest point after the earnings miss to wind up trading for over $95 per share a few days later. CNBC reckons that the fast surge in popularity for Apex Legends signals that mainstream players are finally catching on to the free-to-play battle royale genre that Fortnite and PUBG helped to create.
Apex's quick success perhaps has something to do with it being difficult for gamers late to the Fortnite party to compete with players who have been honing their skills since that game launched. Getting in on the ground level with Apex Legends could give those new to the battle royale genre the opportunity to be more on par with the competition in the game.