Will Fortnite be popular in 2020
Which Battle Royale is Most Popular: Fortnite or Apex Legends?
Electronic Arts (EA) hailed the popularity of the battle royale title Apex Legends when it released its latest quarterly financial report this month.
EA announced that Apex Legends was the most downloaded free PS4 game of 2019, which means it beat Fortnite's tough competition for the crown. The announcement caused a stir, but is Apex Legends actually more popular than Fortnite?
A cultural phenomenon
Fortnite became a resounding success when it was released in 2017. It attracted more than 125 million players in its first year and digital sales hit 2.4 billion US dollars in unprecedented sales in 2018. SuperData Revealed The game had more annual sales than any other title in history, comfortably ahead of Dungeon Fighter, League of Legends, and Pokemon GO.
In early 2019, it was firmly established as a cultural phenomenon loved by rappers, celebrities and casual gamers alike. Then came Apex Legends to offer players a compelling alternative. Critics enjoyed the fast-paced squad play, the progression of the elements, and the compelling character base.
Apex Legends had more than 25 million downloads in its first week, and suddenly obituaries for Fortnite popped up. When the player count hit 50 million in one month, many commentators predicted that Fortnite would soon be usurped as the world's pre-eminent battle royale title.
However, it didn't quite work out that way. Fortnite producer Epic Games was determined to bring this challenger to the throne and quickly announced a $ 100 million investment in a series of professional Fortnite tournaments taking place in 2019 and with the Fortnite World Cup of 30 million US dollars should peak.
Players realized that playing Fortnite could make them millionaires, and many switched back to the game. The novelty of Apex Legends subsided a bit and Fortnite was back in the driver's seat. It received an immense publicity boost after several teenagers actually won millions of dollars in the World Cup and it ended on a high in 2019.
Earlier this month, Epic announced Fortnite now has more than 350 million registered players. That's roughly the population of the United States.
There are no fears that its popularity will wane as it has entertained its legions of fans during the coronavirus lockdown. In April 2020, players spent more than 3.2 billion hours in the game.
A game to rule them all
Apex Legends just can't keep up with that. The latest landmark announced by EA came in October 2019 when it was revealed that 70 million people had downloaded Apex. It only managed to secure 4 more PS2019 downloads than Fortnite as so many people had downloaded Fortnite before 2019.
It seems that within a few months of its launch, Apex peaked. It brought in 50 million players in a month and it took another six months to add another 20 million to that balance sheet. EA would have released details of the number of its players in its latest financial update if it had been close to delivering on its original promise and usurping Fortnite.
Apex Legends remains a popular battle royale title, and its success over the past year is undeniable. It receives an increase in player numbers whenever an LTM or event takes place. Fortnite is more popular than Apex Legends in every available metric, however.
Could that change in the future? Right now, Fortnite has a phenomenal lead over its rivals in terms of popularity, and its two closest challengers - PUBG and Apex Legends - have a lot to do to fill the void. However, Apex is a much newer title than PUBG and Fortnite and still offers plenty of potential for future growth.
It has not yet cracked the lucrative cellular market. EA and Respawn have plans to launch the game on mobile and this is a great opportunity. EA CEO Andrew Wilson said it wouldn't kick off for the company until fiscal 2021, which begins October 1, 2020, so we'll have to wait and see how successful it turns out.
Fortnite and PUBG have both achieved tremendous success on mobile. As such, Apex Legends should get a significant boost once it becomes available on these devices. A concerted effort must also be made to crack the Chinese market, where PUBG is currently at the forefront. It has yet to launch on the Nintendo Switch as well - another area of success for Fortnite - so that Apex Legends can explore many new horizons.
The long battle ahead
Wilson confirmed that EA will invest significant time and resources in ensuring that Apex Legends has a healthy future. "Apex Legends is an important long-term franchise for us. Since its inception, we've grown the team working on the game significantly and it continues to grow," he said. "With the Apex Legends community now numbering over 70 million players, our focus is on expanding to new mobile platforms, new regions and launching a competitive Apex game program that we will share details about shortly."
There is also a risk that Epic Games will become complacent. It already shocked fans when it abandoned plans for a Fortnite World Cup in 2020 as a result of the coronavirus crisis and threw the professional scene into chaos.
Games like League of Legends, CS: GO, and Dota 2 remain popular as a direct result of their success in the competitive gaming arena, and it's interesting to see Fortnite blow hot and cold while playing sports. If you find Fortnite betting here, you won't see many big tournaments on the horizon. Apex Legends has a thriving esports scene and was even more lucrative than Fortnite for gamers in 2020.
New competitors are gathering, and both Epic Games and EA need to invest in the long-term future of their titles. Both companies are in strong financial positions, and both Fortnite and Apex Legends recently released patches that are gaining recognition almost everywhere. This battle is likely to continue for many years to come, and Apex Legends should have an opportunity to move forward in the future.
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