Apex Legends has passed another milestone in its meteoric first month. Respawn Entertainment announced on Twitter that the game has reached 50 million players — a huge feat, considering the free-to-play battle royale game launched just four weeks ago.
Since its surprise launch in February, Apex Legends has grown at a massive rate. Within its first eight hours, the game had one million players; by the end of its first day, 2.5 million people had jumped in.
The popular comparison to make is that Apex Legends is growing at a much quicker clip than its closest competitor, Fortnite Battle Royale. It took Fortnite’s free battle royale mode several months to hit the 45 million players mark — but there are numerous factors to take into consideration before ogling graphs that suggest Apex is the new battle royale champion.
Fortnite first launched with its Save the World mode in July 2017, a paid campaign that never inspired the same fervor as its free component. Fortnite Battle Royale arrived two months later, in September 2017. And since spring 2018, Fortnite has only continued to gain players, popularity, and cultural relevance; by June 2018, the game had 125 million players. Since then, more than 200 million people have checked out Fortnite.
It’s also important to recognize that Fortnite still reigns supreme when it comes to availability, with its mobile presence especially significant. (Apex Legends is only available on PlayStation 4, Windows PC, and Xbox One.) And the game recently hit a new concurrent player record, with 7.6 million players online two weeks ago — without any particular reason or event to encourage the wave.
And don’t forget about PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, which kickstarted the battle royale hype in its early access PC release. Last June, developer PUBG Corp. said that not only had the game sold more than 50 million copies (there are paid versions on PC and Xbox One, but PUBG is free-to-play on mobile), but it also had more than 400 million players.
All that aside, yes, Apex Legends is huge. But let’s not say that Fortnite is down for the count anytime soon as a result of its success. Instead, take this number as indication that the battle royale phenomenon rages on.