The Apex Legends ‘Honeymoon’ May Be Over

It had a stellar launch, but Apex Legends might have to fight harder than ever to get ahead.
Two months after its launch, the gaming community’s love-affair with Apex Legends may be slowly fading.
Two months after its launch, the gaming community’s love-affair with Apex Legends may be slowly fading. Respawn Entertainment

Apex Legends experienced arguably one of the best launches in video game history. Three days after it launched last February 2019, Apex Legends already had 10 million active players around the world. In its first week, that number more than doubled to 25 million active players. In its first month that number doubled again and there were over 50 million players on Apex Legends, with so many people watching it on Twitch that it came close to beating the current Twitch chart-topper, Fortnite. Indeed, Apex Legends seemed like a shoe-in to be the next big thing in gaming, but two months later it seems it’s already on the decline.

When Apex Legends came out in February, it was instantly popular. It had unique gameplay that changed depending on your character choice, excellent accessibility features, and a litany of improvements over other games in the genre. However, Apex Legends’ rapid rise to fame all came to a screeching stop after its first patch went live, and so far it’s been all downhill from there. Apex Legends’ viewership on Twitch has dropped to almost a quarter of what it was after launch (from 200,000 concurrent viewers to around 50,000 now), and many players are going back to Fortnite. All of this, despite Apex Legends having just started its first in-game season.

It’s main competitor, Epic Games’ Fortnite, started implementing some of the features that made Apex Legends such a unique experience. Within a week, Fortnite had its own smart-ping system - a feature that made communicating in Apex Legends infinitely better than in any other battle royale game. Within a couple of months, Fortnite rolled out its Respawn Vans, giving players a shot at respawning much like they did in Apex Legends. Fortnite stepped up to the competition, and although a lot of people disagreed with how it blatantly copied features, it looks like Apex Legends just wasn’t able to keep up with its own success.

Respawn Entertainment, the studio behind Apex Legends, detailed its plans for the game and said that they were looking at less-frequent updates to keep the game more balanced and more consistent through subsequent patches. However, it seems this strategy didn’t appeal to its player-base. While the updates did manage to balance certain aspects of the game, the lack of new content or the infrequency in which it was released caused the game to stagnate. Combine that with the sheer number of bugs and game-breaking problems encountered in the first patch, and Respawn Entertainment had a massive problem: it couldn’t keep up. The intention behind less-frequent patches was to ensure balance and stability, but since its launch, Apex Legends patches have come with a different set of game-breaking issues. Some notable bugs were players flying around the map, guns malfunctioning, and in some cases, player progress being completely reset. Thankfully, a lot of these issues were quickly addressed, but by then, the player-base had already been rubbed the wrong way.

It also doesn’t help that it’s biggest feature since launch - the Season 1 Battle Pass - is lackluster and has left its player-base largely uninterested in its challenges and rewards.

There’s so much potential in Apex Legends, and it’s definitely not giving up the fight just yet. Respawn Entertainment has had the pleasure of having one of the most successful video game launches in history, but now the real work begins. Even Fortnite, which is arguably one of the most popular games of today, had to fight tooth-and-nail to get to where it is now. Hopefully, Apex Legends has what it takes to climb its way back to the top.

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