EA's just reported its fourth quarter results - and amongst the dry business jargon are some interesting tidbits concerning Apex Legends. Namely, that the game's coming to mobile devices and China.
"We are in advanced negotiations to bring Apex Legends to China and to mobile, and we will update you on timeframes when those negotiations are concluded", said EA exec Blake Jorgensen during the earnings call (via Seeking Alpha).
Back in late January at the Apex Legends reveal event, McCoy told Eurogamer during an interview that Respawn would love to bring the game to mobile or Switch, but had nothing to announce for either at that stage. The reason given back then, McCoy explained, was the same as why Respawn had made the title free to play from day one: to allow as many people as possible to play.
"The more people who play it the happier we are," McCoy stated. "That also extends to platforms, and everyone has an Xbox or PlayStation or PC or Switch - they definitely have a phone or tablet - so we've talked about it but we don't have any info on it right now."
Clearly, the mobile part of that has become reality, but we are yet to hear anything about a Switch version - and we still don't have a set cell-by date for the mobile port. While Respawn's reasoning for the mobile version may be to broaden the player base, for both Respawn and EA the financial benefits of porting Apex Legends to mobile are obvious: PUBG Mobile, for instance, is estimated to have made $65m in March alone (according to mobile intelligence firm Sensor Tower.
However, given Tencent has had to pull PUBG Mobile from China and the country has recently introduced a far stricter approvals process, it may not be plain sailing for EA.
Meanwhile, during the call EA revealed that 30 per cent of new EA players have been introduced to the company by Apex Legends. Apex Legends is also the "fastest-growing franchise [EA] has ever had", although perhaps that isn't a surprise given the game reached 50m players within its first month. While revenues are down 22 per cent this quarter, EA's digital net bookings have increased by 9 percent to $1.36bn, something EA says has been "driven by Apex Legends and our sports titles, offset somewhat by Anthem" (thanks, GamesIndustry.biz).
The company didn't mention Apex Legends's slightly concerning slump in Twitch viewers, however - although Jorgensen did admit that the "average daily user basis has come down slightly". Given the hype surrounding Apex in its first month, this is probably to be expected, but the size of the game's current player base remains something of a mystery.
Personally, I'm just interested to see how Apex Legends will be ported to mobile - as a fast-paced shooter, it should certainly present some challenges. And, judging by the wording of "negotiations", it's possible we could see another developer called in to carry out the port - the question is, who?
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