Thanks to an EA update post we now know Apex Legends has accrued 25 million players since its release on 5th February. Concurrent players, meanwhile, peaked at a healthy 2 million.
Been waiting all day to tell you this madness... @PlayApex hit 25 million players this morning. Read more about it at the link below. Remember we have Season One starting in March and more surprises coming. https://t.co/gwj1sZSQnY— Vince Zampella (@VinceZampella) February 11, 2019
Alongside being free-to-play, part of the reason for the impressive numbers is due to Apex Legends' marketing - or rather, lack of. Respawn opted to keep Apex Legends a secret to reduce the likelihood of a sceptical reception. As explained by lead producer Drew McCoy in an interview with Eurogamer, Respawn is "doing a free-to-play game, with essentially loot boxes, after [it was] bought by EA, and it's not Titanfall 3". Seems like a valid reason to avoid an extended marketing campaign.
The decision to "just ship the game and let players play" appears to be paying off - both in terms of player numbers and attention from streamers. For the past week Apex Legends has averaged 254,973 viewers on Twitch, beating League of Legends at 140,361 and Fortnite at 109,788. It's a significant gap, and unsurprising given the amount of attention Respawn has given to streamers, but it's likely the numbers will dip once the initial hype has calmed down.
Whether Apex Legends truly has legs depends on the game's post-launch support, and Respawn has promised to continually update the game. While the first season and battle pass will arrive in March, this week players can expect some "limited-time Valentine's Day themed loot", and there's some form of showdown between Twitch streamers taking place today and next Tuesday.
In the meantime, I'm just waiting for an update to give the Mozambique a buff. That gun is cursed.