Developer Respawn Entertainment and publisher Electronic Arts have a hit on their hands with Apex Legends, a free-to-play game that went live yesterday and broke a million unique players in under eight hours. It is an incredible stat, and it underscores how wildly popular the battle royale genre is right now, as if we didn't already know.
We only have to look at Fortnite to see the potential of a battle royale shooter. Epic Games is raking in billions of dollars through in-game purchases, while the top streamers are bringing in some serious coin, too—Tyler Blevins, the 27-year-old who is popularly known as Ninja, made $10 million in 2018 by streaming his Fortnite gameplay.
Respawn Entertainment and EA hope to capture that type of financial magic with Apex Legends, and they're off to a good start. Apex Legends is a Titanfall spin-off running on a modified Source engine, from the makers of Titanfall.
There are no actual titans, unfortunately, but in the early going gamers are enjoying what it does have to offer. Players choose from a pool of heroes and are matched in squads of three, During each round, 60 players drop from a ship and fight for survival as a circle encompassing the safe space shrinks. Matches typically last 20-30 minutes.
The roster of playable heroes currently sits at eight, though Respawn Entertainment is expected to add more characters over time. Whether the game has legs to go the distance remains to be seen, but for now, gamers are intrigued. It also helps that Apex Legends doesn't cost a dime to download and play, though obviously Respawn Entertainment and EA are banking on microtransactions proving lucrative.
That will depend in part on how the developer and publisher handle things going forward. In a related FAQ, Respawn Entertainment and EA talked about striving to keep characters balanced and cracking down on cheaters. They also left open the possibility of adding more maps in the future.
Apex Legends is available now on PC, Xbox One, and PlayStation 4. Cross-play is not supported at the moment, though Respawn Entertainment and EA left the door open on that as well.